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Formerly of New- York, and late Chief Justice of Lower Canada. 


— QQ© — 




Grattan, Print. 




Be it remembered, That on the 7th day of November, A. D. 1829, in the 54th year of the 
Independence of the United States of America, JOHN DELAFIELD, of the said District, 
hath deposited in this office the title of a book, the right whereof he claims as proprietor 
in the words following, to wit : 

" Tkc History of the Province of JVew-York^ from its discovery to the appointment of Go- 
venior Colden, in 1762. By the honourable William Sm.ith, formerly of J^ew- York, and late 
Chief Justice of Lower Canada, Published under the direction of the JVew- York Historical 

In conformity to the Act of Congress of the United States, entitled " An act for the en- 
couragement of Learning, by securing the copies of Maps, Charts, and Books, to the authors 
and proprietors of such copies, during the times therein mentioned.' ' And also to an Act 
entitled " An Act, supplementary to an Act, entitled an Act for the encouragement of Learn- 
ing, by securing the copies of Maps, Charts, and Books, to the authors and proprietors of 
such copies, during the times therein mentioned, and extending the benefits thereof to the arte 
of designing, engraving, ond etching historical and other prints." 


Clerk of the Southern District of JVew- York. 


At the close of the first volume of my father's History 
of New-York, he has stated the reasons which induced him 
not to publish it beyond a certain period : however forcible 
they might have been at that day, they no longer exist, and 
I therefore have taken the resolution to offer to the public 
the Continuation of this History, written with his own 
hand. I read it with the utmost attention before I resolved 
upon the publication. I put the work into the hands of 
some of my friends, conceiving that it would have been pre- 
sumption in me to have trusted to my own partial decision, 
and they encouraged me to offer it to the public, as a curious 
and interesting book. When I resolved to follow this advice, 
it was a circumstance of great weight with me, that as it 
would probably be published at some future day, and might 
fall into the hands of an editor, who, not being actuated by 
the same sacred regard for the reputation of the author 
which I feel, might make alterations and additions, and 
obtrude the whole on the public as a genuine and authentic 
book. The continuation of the history is therefore published 
as it was left by the author, with only a few verbal alterations 
end corrections. 


Member of his Majesty's CoimciL 



From Colonel Cosby's appointment to his death ; and the appointment 
of Mr. Clarke as President of the Province, in 1736, 1 


From Governor Clarke's return to England, to the appointment of Go- 
vernor Clinton, 82 


From the resignation of Governor Clinton, to the appointment of Sir 

Danvers Osbom as Governor, 182 


From the death of Sir Danvers Osbom, to the accession of Lieutenant 
Governor Delancey, 196 


From the time of Lieutenant-Governor Delancey's ceasing to administer 
the government, to the arrival of Sir Charles Hardy as Governor, 263 


From the absence of Sir Charles Hardy on an expedition against Mar- 
tinico, to the second assumption of the administration by Lieutenant 
Governor Delancey, 297 


From Lieutenant-Governor Delancey's death, to the appointment of 
Lieutenant-Governor C olden, during the absence of Sir Charles 
Hardy, ,...., 347 







Upon the death of Mr. Montgomorie, the province 
was committed to the care of colonel William Cosby: 
he had formerly governed Minorca, and exposed 
himself to reproaches in that island, which followed 
him across the Atlantic. It was by his order that 
the effects of one Coppodoville, a Catalan merchant, 
then residing at Lisbon, were seized at Port Mahon, 
in 1718, several months before the war of that year 
was declared against Spam ; and he was charged 
with scandalous practices to secure the booty, by 
denying the right of appeal, and secreting the papers 
tending to detect the iniquity of the sentence, and 
enabling the proprietor to procure its reversal. He 
arrived here the 1st of August, 1732, and on the 10th 
spoke to the assembly, who had met several days 
before, agreeably to an adjournment. After inform- 

voL. n —1 


ing the house, that the delay of his voyage was 
owing to his desire of assisting the agents for 
defeating a bill brought into parliament, partial to 
the sugar islands, he declared his confidence in 
their willingness to provide for the support of 
government, by settling a revenue as ample and 
permanent as in any former instance ; urged their 
attention to the Indian commerce, and promised his 
power and interest to render them a happy and 
flourishing people. 

The assembly were more liberal in the address 
with their thanks than their promises ; for they 
merely engaged in general to contribute to the ease 
of his administration, and therefore he repeats his 
request when they come before him to present it. 

From their dread of the success of the sugar act, 
they did not hesitate about a revenue to support the 
government for six years ; nor to secure out of it the 
payment of a salary of fifteen hundred and sixty 
pounds to the governor, with the emoluments of 
four hundred pounds per annum in fuel and candles 
for the fort, and one hundred and fifty pounds for 
his voyage to Albany, besides a sum for presents to 
the Indians. But it was late in the session before 
they voted any compensation for his assistance to 
the agents, and not till after the support bill had 
been passed. They then agreed only to present him 
with the sum of seven hundred and fifty pounds. 
The governor, who had intelligence of it, intimated 
his disgust, but in terms which, though it procured 
him an augmentation of two hundred and fifty pounds 
more, lost him their esteem. He accosted Mr. Morris, 
one of the members, on this occasion, in terms 



-expressing a contempt of the vote. ^*Damn them," 
said he, " why did they not add, shillings and pence? 
Do they think that I came from England for money? 
I'll make them know better." 

This year was the first of our public attention to 
the education of youth : provision was then made 
for the first time to support a free school, for teach- 
ing the Latin and Greek tongues, and the practical 
branches of the mathematics, under the care of Mr. 
Alexander Malcolm of Aberdeen, the author of a 
Treatise upon Book-keeping. The measure was 
patronised by the Morris family, Mr. Alexander, and 
Mr. Smith, who presented a petition to the assembly 
for that object; such was the negligence of the day, 
that an instructor could not find bread, from the 
voluntary contributions of the inhabitants, though 
our eastern neighbours had set us an example of 
erecting and endowing colleges early in the last 

The bill for this school, drafted by Mr. Philipse 
the speaker, and brought in by Mr Delancey, 
administered to some merriment. It had this sin- 
gular preamble : ** whereas the youth of this colony 
are found, by manifold experience, to be not inferior 
in their natural geniuses to the youth of any other 
country in the world, therefore, be it enacted," &c. 

The opposition to the sugar act, which now 
engrossed so much the public attention, was unsuc- 
cessful. Mr. President Van Dam, the council, and 
the assembly, had all concurred in a petition against 
it to the king, while Mr Cosby was in England, 
They represented the islands as aiming at a mono- 
poly injurious both to the colony and the mother 


country: asserted that this colony took oft' more 
British woollens than all the islands together, except 
what was imported by Jamaica for the Spaniards ; 
that the act would reduce them to raise their own 
clothing; that the provisions, horses, and lumber 
exported from this, and the colonies of New-Jersey 
and Pennsylvania, brought returns from the foreign 
as well as British islands, in money, rum, sugar, 
molasses, cocoa, indigo, cotton, all which, except the 
rum and molasses, were either consumed here, or 
furnished remittances to Great Britain for her 
balance against us ; and the specie sent from this 
colony alone, they conceived to be more than from 
all the British islands together, Jamaica only ex- 
cepted: they denied that the British sugar islands 
could take off* half the provisions raised by the 
three northern colonies aforementioned, or supply 
us with rum without lessening the exports of sugar. 
Nothing could be more importunate than their sup- 
plications for the king's protection against the West 
India project : and now the assembly devoted one 
hundred and fifty pounds per annum, with fifty 
pounds more for disbursements, to any person whom 
certain merchants of London should nominate as 
their agent, to assist this colony in what they con- 
ceived to be threatening them with ruin ; for they 
apprehended that all purchasers from the foreign 
islands for our products, were to be totally pro- 
hibited; a design, however, not countenanced by 
the act. 

While Mr. Van Dam was in the chair, it became 
a question in council, on drawing the warrants for 
the governor's salary, whether the whole or only the 


moiety should be received by the president. The 
assembly were consulted upon it, but declined an 
opinion. The council then advised warrants to 
Mr. Van Dam for the whole salary, and he received 
the money. Mr. Cosby came out with the king's 
order of the 31st of May, 1732, for the equal par- 
tition between himself and the president, of the 
salary and all perquisites and emoluments of 
government during his own absence. Van Dam 
was contented, if the governor would also divide 
with him the sums which came to his hands in 
England, for he confessed his own receipts to 
amount to no more than one thousand nine hundred 
and seventy-five pounds, seven shillings and ten 
pence, and insisted that the governor's were six 
thousand four hundred and seven pounds, eighteen 
shillings and ten pence Colonel Cosby would not 
consent to this demand, and the president, who 
thought him his debtor, refused to tender him a 
farthing, and demanded a balance. The governor, 
to compel the payment and prevent any discount, 
was advised to proceed against Van Dam in the 
exchequer, for in a suit at common law he dreaded 
a set ofi* and the verdict of a jury, the president 
being a popular and reputable merchant. In chancery 
no measures could be taken, for there the governor 
presided, and could not be an unexceptionable judge 
in his own cause. 

The supreme court exercised the ample authorities 
both of the king's bench and common pleas, and 
its sittings, or terms, had been fixed by ordinances 
of the governor, with the advice of the council. 
In certain instances the judges had proceeded 


according to course of the exchequer, their commis- 
sions directing them "to make such rules and orders 
as may be found convenient and useful, as near as 
may be agreeable to the rules and orders of our 
courts of king's bench, common pleas, and ex- 

Hence the hint for proceeding in equity before 
the judges of the supreme court, as barons of the 
exchequer, the majority of whom, Messrs Delancey 
and Philipse, were the governor's inti;nate friends. 
In Mr. Morris, the chief justice, he had not equal 

As soon as Bradley, the attorney-general, brought 
a bill in this court against Mr. Van Dam, the latter 
resolved to file a declaration at common law against 
Mr. Cosby, before the same judges, for his moiety 
as money received by the governor to his use, and 
required his excellency, by a letter of the 27th 
August, 1733, to give orders for entering his appear- 
ance at his suit. The governor slighted his request, 
and Van Dam, by his counsel, moved the judges in 
the subsequent term of October, for their letter to 
his excellency, similar to the practice of the chancery 
where a peer of the realm is defendant. The judges 
permitted him to file his declaration, but refused the 
letter, as unprecedented at law, and left him to 
choose the ordinary process. A summons was then 
offered to the clerk of the court for the seal, but he 


would not affix it to the writ. The attorney-general 
had in the mean time proceeded before the same 
judges in equity, to a commission of rebellion, and 
Van Dam found himself compelled to a defence. 
It is natural to imaofine that Van Dam's hard and 


singular situation would excite pity, and that the 
populace might be induced to redeem him from 
oppression. He had early engaged Messrs. Alex- 
ander and Smith, two lawyers in high reputation, 
for his counsel. They took exception to the juris- 
diction of the court, and boldly engaged in support 
of the plea. But when judgment was given by the 
puisne judges for overruling it, the chief justicci 
opposed his brethren, in a very long argument in' 
writing, in support of his opinion ; at which the 
governor was much offended, demanded a copy, and 
then the judge, to prevent misrepresentation, com- 
mitted it to the press. 

The exceptions were three : — that the supreme 
court, which claimed this jurisdiction in equity, was 
established by an ordinance of the late king George 
the first, and expired at his demise, and had" not 
been re-established in the present reign : — that 
his present majesty, by his commission to governor 
Montgomorie, under the great seal of Great Britain, 
having commanded him to execute all things in due 
manner, according to the powers granted by that 
commission, and the instructions therewith given, 
by the S9th article of which he was required to 
grant commissions, with the advice of the council, 
to persons fit to be judges, and that he had com- 
missioned Mr. Delancey and Mr. Philipse without 
such advice : — that they had no jurisdiction or 
authority to compel the defendant to appear upon 
oath, concerning the matters in the bill ; and there 
is no prescription, act of parliament, nor act of 
assembly, to establish any supreme court, nor to 



empower any court or persons to hold cognizance 
of pleas in a court of equity, in or for this province. 

Mr. Cosby went to his government in Jersey very 
soon after the order for overruling the plea, which 
was the 9th April, 1733, in the presence of a 
crowded and exasperated audience ; and upon his 
return in August presented Mr Delancey, at the 
council board, with a commission to be chief justice, 
and had issued another advancing Mr. Philipse to 
the second seat. The members present, besides 
Delancey, were Clark, Harison, Colden, and Ken- 
nedy, so that he could not form a board for this step, 
there wanting the necessary quorum of five compe- 
tent members. He did not ask their opinion or 
advice on this unguarded measure, which added 
fresh oil to the flame already spread through the 
colony, and excited the fears of the multitude. 

The assembly meeting soon after in autumn, Mr. 
Morris was chosen to represent the county of West- 
chester, in the place of a deceased member; but he 
did not present the indenture of his return till the 
last day of a short session, in which nothing of much 
moment was transacted. 

The court (for all the province was already 
divided into two parties) made an ineffectual oppo- 
sition to Mr. Morris's introducing his son Lewis into 
the assembly, as the burgess of the town of West- 
chester. One Forster, a schoolmaster, and appointed 
clerk of the court by Mr. Cosby, was set up against 
Mr. Morris, and supported by Mr. Delancey and Mr. 
Philipse, who canvassed against the old judge, who 
offered himself to the county. The quakers were 


all set aside by the sheriff, Cowper, who insisted 
upon an oath instead of the affirmation, to prove 
their freeholds ; a violence, however, which laid the 
foundation for a law in their favour, while it added, 
for the present, to the general discontent, already 
risen so high in the capital, that their joy on Mr. 
Morris's next arrival there was announced by the 
explosion of the cannon of the merchants' ships in 
the harbour, and by the citizens meeting and con- 
ducting him, with loud acclamations, to a public 
and splendid entertainment. 

The arts, common in such ferments, were played 
off by the leaders of the opposition. Zenger's 
Weekly Journal was engaged in their service, and 
a great part filled with extracts from the spirited 
papers of Trenchard, Gordon, and other writers on 
the popular side ; while Bradford's Gazette was 
employed to defend the governor and his party. 

In the course of the winter of 1734, two vessels 
arrived for provisions from Louisburgh, where such 
strong fortifications were erecting as excited the 
jealousy of all the northern colonies ; and the cir- 
cumstance of their sounding the passage up from 
the Hook being discovered, an advantage was taken 
of it, and an affidavit, taken to prove it, published in 
the papers. The odium fell on the governor, as 
countenancing the design of exposing the port and 
colony to the French ; and Mr. Van Dam made this 
one of the articles of the charge of maladminis- 
tration which he transmitted against him, though 
there did not appear the least ground for the 

VOL. II, — -2 


At the parting of some company from Mr. Alex- 
ander's, late in the evening of the 1st February, an 
incendiary letter was picked up in the hall. It had 
been shoved under the outer door, and was instantly 
pronounced, by Mr* Alexander, to be the hand- 
writing of Mr. Harison, then a member of the 
council. It was in these words : — 

" To Mr. Alexander : 

** I am one who formerly was accounted a 
gentleman, but am now reduced to poverty, and have 
no victuals to eat ; and, knowing you to be of a 
generous temper, desire you would comply with 
my request, which is, to let me have ten pistoles to 
supply my necessaries and carry me to my native 
country. This is a bold request, but I desire you 
will comply with it, or you and your family shall 
feel the effects of my displeasure. Unless you let 
me have them, I'll destroy you and your family by 
a stratagem which I have contrived. If that don't 
take the desired effect, I swear, by God, to poison 
all your tribe so surely, that you shan't know the 
perpetrator of the tragedy. I beg, for God's sake, 
that you would let me have the money, and hinder 
me from committing such a black deed. I know 
you can spare it, so desire you would let me have it. 
Saturday night, about seven o'clock, leave it by the 
cellar door, wrapped up in a rag, and about an hour 
after, I will come and take it : put it on the ground 
just where I put the stick. If you don't leave it, I 
advise you not to drink your beer, nor eat your 
bread, if you value your life and healths, for, by my 
soul, I will do what I have mentioned. If I find any 
watch to guard me in taking of it, I'll desist and 


not take it, but follow my intended scheme, and 
hinder you from acting any more on the stage of 
life. If you comply, I'll never molest you more ; but 
if not, ril hazard my life in destroying yours, and 
continue what I am." 

From the neglect to disguise the hand, which 
Mr. ^mith, Mr. Hamilton, Mr. Lurting the mayor, 
all pronounced to be Mr. Harison's, it was con- 
jectured that his design was to provoke a criminal 
prosecution, establish the precedent of convicting 
on the proof of a similitude of hands, and then, by 
counterfeiting the writing of one of the demagogues 
of the day, to bring him to the gallows, while the 
governor's friends were to escape by pardon. 

It was therefore, with great earnestness, that Mr. 
Alexander, under the influence of that suspicion, 
when called before the grand jury, contended 
against their finding an indictment only upon such 
evidence, and with caution and reserve that he 
mentioned Mr. Harison's name, as the grand 
jurors themselves afterwards certified. They con- 
tented themselves with an address to the governor, 
acquainting him that they could not discover the 
author, being able to have the evidence no higher 
than a resemblance between the letter and his 
writing : that, least a presentment or indictment by 
them upon such evidence, should prove a trap to 
ensnare some innocent person upon the oath they 
had taken, they durst not accuse any individual. 
They besought him, nevertheless, to issue a procla- 
mation, with a promise of reward, for detecting the 
author of the villany. 

This matter was laid before the council, and 


referred to Messrs. Ilarison, Van Horn, Kennedy, 
Delancey, Courtlandt, Lane, and Horsmanden, who, 
as a committee, proceeded to make the necessary 
inquiries preparatory to a report. As Mr. Alexander 
and Mr. Smith, who were summoned to attend there, 
refused to appear, wliih) Harison, the suspected 
author, was of the committee, and Mr Alexander, 
a member of the board, left out, they proceeded 
only upon the testimony of Mr. Hamilton and Mr. 
Lurting ; and, though they advised a proclamation, 
offering fifty pounds for a discovery, yet they 
reported it as their opinion that Mr. Harison was 
entirely innocent of the infamous piece of villany 
laid to his charge ; that he was incapable of being 
guilty of so foul a deed, and that the letter was a 
most wicked scandalous, and infamous counterfeit 
and forgery, calculated by some artful, malicious, 
and evil-minded persons to traduce and vilify the 
character of an honorable member of his majesty's 
council of this province, and thereby render him 
odious and infamous to mankind. 

Whether the governor was let into the design of 
the author of the letter, was never discovered, 
though some stress was laid upon words dropped 
by a man intimate in the family, who, coming home 
in his cups late in the evening, shortly before the 
letter was found, said a scheme was executed to 
hang Alexander and Smith ; and Mrs. Cosby, fre- 
quently, and without reserve, had declared that "it 
was her highest w4sh to see them on a gallows at 
the fort gate." 

Harison was generally suspected, in spite of the 
testimonial of the council, of which he made all the 


use in his power in an exculpatory address to the 
city corporation, whose recorder he then was, sug- 
gesting that Mr. Alexander and Mr. Smith had 
forged the letter to ruin him They published a 
refutation of the scandal, which, by assigning proofs 
of his enmity, strengthened the general suspicions 
then prevalent against him. 

Harison had been concerned with them and others 
in the design of procuring a patent for part of the 
great obhmg, surrendered to this colony on the 
settlement with (Connecticut. 

The petitioners were in this way to be recom- 
pensed for two thousand pounds expended in 
effecting the establishment of the eastern line of 
the colony. While the business of the surrender 
was negotiating, Harison had perfidiously revealed 
the design to sir Joseph Eyies, the duke of Chandois, 
and others, and prompted them to sue out a patent 
in England It issued there on the 1.5th May, 1731, 
upon erroneous suggestions, and with a description 
which did not include the lands meant to be taken 
up, and which were fortunately granted by Mr. 
Montgomerie before the English patent arrived, or 
Mr. Harrison had time to correct the information 
by which they had been deceived, and on which 
account he had justly exposed himself to censure on 
both sides of the water. 

Add to this, that at the very time of finding the 
incendiary letter, Mr. Harison was under a prose- 
cution tending to overwhelm him with disgrace : he 
had promoted an action for two hundred pounds in 
the name of Wheldon, against one Trusdel, who 
had been his servant. The defendant was reduced 


to great straits by the action, and complained to his 
creditor, who, knowing nothing of the prosecution, 
took Trusdel to be insane. When it was discovered 
that Mr Harison had ordered the writ in October, 
173 J, to gratify a pique of his own, and. without any 
authority from Wheldon, he retained i\lr Alexander, 
and Mr. Smith, to avenge the poor man he had injured. 
The grand jury presented Harison, and Trusdel in a 
civil process was cast in the trial. It was afterwards 
published, and exhibited such proofs of the ingrati- 
tude, cruelty, dissimulation, and injustice of Mr. 
Harison, that he soon after fled to England. 

The attorney-general, in tenderness to a man who, 
besides his place in council, was judge of the vice- 
admiralty, examiner in chancery, and searcher of 
the customs, neglected to put the presentment in 
form. Several subsequent grand juries complained 
of this delinquency unnoticed, and the criminal kept 
his ground till 1735, when the fourth grand jury 
resolved he should be screened no longer, and 
presented an indictment in form. 

The political writers, by their industry and ad- 
dress, captivated the minds of the populace, who 
now ascribed every thing they felt or feared to the 
mal-administration of their rulers. To undeceive 
and assuage them, Mr. Cosby convened the assembly 
in April, 1734 His salary being secured for several 
years to come, he had no formidable ap[)rehensions 
from Mr. Morris's intrigues in the house ; and by 
his friends, Mr. Delancey, the new chief justice's 
father, Mr. Philipse, the speaker, and his nephew, 
the second judge, and their influence upon others, 
he hoped to bear down the opposition. His speech 


was a confession of the reality of what the public 
invectives had asserted. He admitted the decay of 
trade, which his adversaries had imputed to his 
misrule and the flight of the inhabitants, though he 
ascribed it to their neglect of ship building, and the 
employment of Bermudians as their carriers, and 
the want of inspectors to support the credit of flour, 
the main staple of the colony. He urged them to 
fortify the two cities of New- York and Albany, 
according to plans he had proposed. He recom- 
mended a duty of tonnage on foreign vessels, and a 
stamp duty upon law proceedings and conveyances ; 
and computed, that the uncertain produce of the 
latter should remain in their own treasury for future 
application. He exclaimed against the importation 
of negroes* and convicts ; urged a provision for 
maintaining smiths and artificers among the Indians, 
to counteract the artifices of the French ; and pro- 
mised his concurrence in any law for the defence of 
the province, the encouragement of commerce, 
agriculture, and manufactures, the arts and the 

The assembly expressed their gratitude in very 
affectionate terms, and promised their attention to 
these objects. The council, in concert with the 
governor's conciliatory schemes, sent down to the 
lower house a bill in favour of the quakers, within 
two days after a petition had been presented to the 
assembly in their behalf. The plans and estimates 

* A poll-tax upon negroes, and a stamp duty, being frequently urged upon 
the assembly by Mr. Delancey, when he came to the chair, renders it probable 
that this speech of Mr. Cosby's was of his prompting : he was always fond of 
those funds. 


for a horse-shoe battery in New-York, a fort at 
Albany, and another at Schenectady, at the expense 
of near eighteen thousand pounds, were communi- 
cated, and an act passed to raise money, and promote 
our own navigation by a duty of tonnage. Popular 
motions were also made by the court party : a bill 
was brought in to introduce the balloting of jurors. 
Judge Philipse complained of the exorbitancy of 
the fees of officers and lawyers, and a bill was 
ordered for regulating them : Mr Delancey moved 
another, for limiting the continuance of assemblies, 
to which the house would consent, if the elections 
were triennial. 

The multitude, however, put no confidence in 
their appearances, and petitions were circulated to 
stimulate their representatives to real services : two 
were preferred on the 28th May, one from the 
citizens of New-York, and another from the inha- 
bitants in Westchester A third soon after came up 
from Queens county ; all urging a law to settle fees 
and courts, for preserving the liberties and proper- 
ties of the people from arbitrary encroachments. 

The aim of the opposition was to overturn the 
court of exchequer ; and on the 31st May, they 
carried a resolve for hearing Messrs. Murray and 
Smith, two principal lawyers of different parties, 
upon that part of the petitions respecting courts of 
justice, for all were agreed upon the fee bill, already 
before the house. 

The 7th of June was appointed for this unpar- 
liamentary condescension of the assembly. The 
lawyers appeared there, not as counsel for the 
petitioners, but assistants of the legislature. The 


doors were thrown open to satisfy the general 
curiosity, and the orators admonished that the house 
expected their opinions candidly, sincerely, and 
upon honour. 

Mr. Murray, the senior counsel at the bar, being 
not prepared, Mr. Smith began and spent three 
hours in that memorable speech which I have already 
taken notice of. Mr. Murray was heard five days 
afterwards, and then both were dismissed, with the 
thanks of the house. The doctrine of the former 
was, that no court of equity could be erected in the 
colony by any act of the crown. The latter argued 
that the four great courts of chancery, king's bench, 
common pleas, and exchequer, were of original 
jurisdiction, and founded on immemorial usage, but 
conceiving the colony entitled to like courts, as 
essential branches of English liberty : he expressed 
his fears that the establishment of them by a new 
law would raise doubts of our title to the rights and 
privileges of Englishmen ; and therefore he thought 
it expedient to go further than merely to regulate 
them, as had been done in England, by a law to 
establish the tenure of the judges' commission, 
during their good behaviour. 

The senators were confounded by the long argu- 
ments they had heard, and requested copies for the 
press, postponing any further measures until they 
had taken the sentiments of their constituents. 

The advocates for Mr. Smith's opinion had no 
prospect of establishing the courts by a law of the 
colony, but only of drawing the house into the 
quarrel between the governor and Mr. Van Dam ; 
for they foresaw that he would put a negative upon 

VOL. II, —3 


any bill sent up for that purpose. It did not follow 
from his authorities, as some imagine, that no court 
could be opened and organised in the colony without 
the aid of the legislature ; nor would the passing of 
an act for that purpose, in the least degree shake 
our titles, as Mr. Murray asserted, to any other 
rights and privileges to which we are entitled by 
the common laws of England. 

Neither of these gentlemen, had the question 
been proposed by the house, would have denied that 
the colony was entitled, for instance, to a court of 
king's bench, nor that the law constituting the 
judges of it, sufficient for their exercise of all the 
powers of the court of king's bench at Westminster, 
and so respecting either of the other courts. 

Mr. Smith's law authority did not militate against 
such a court, because it would not be creating a 
new court ; and if the crown had exceeded its 
authority in modelling it, by an ordinance or com- 
mission, though that act might be void, the right to 
such court would still exist, because it is not in the 
power of the crown to repeal an old law, and extin- 
guish the rights and privileges of the subjects. Had 
the governor appointed other barons, all clamour 
against the legality of the court of exchequer must 
have ceased, and Mr. Van Dane's only advantage a 
change of his judges, unless Mr. Delancey and Mr. 
Philipse preferred seats in the exchequer bench to 
the bench of tjie supreme court. 

But nothing was less the intention of the contend- 
ing parties than a just and friendly pacification ; for, 
if the governor wished the decision of the controversy 
upon fair terms, what was more natural than to have 


proposed at his first coining, either an amicable suit 
at law or the submission of it to independent and 
unbiassed referees, either here or in England. And 
the injurious project of seeking a mean advantage 
against his antagonist, can only be atoned for by 
the virtuous jealousy it excited, in a colony which 
derived many benefits from the troubles of the day; 
As Mr. Smith's speech added many new prose- 
lytes to the opposition, the governor grew alarmed, 
and to counteract it, changed his distance and 
reproof into mean condescension to the people, the 
better to eflTect the new project of revenging himself 
upon the chief leaders by prosecutions at law. Per- 
sons of inferior stations were invited to the fort and 
dined at his table, some of whom signed an address 
applauding the mildness of his administration. 

The new chief justice, who had before laboured 
to indict Zenger, whose paper was the vehicle of 
invective and satire against the governor and his 
adherents, renewed his efforts in the term of October, 
calling their attention to certain low ballads, which 
he charged to be libels: "sometimes (says the 
judge) heavy, half-witted men get a knack of rhym- 
ing, but it is time to break them of it when they 
grow abusive, insolent, and mischievous with it." 
The ballads being presented, were ordered to be 
burnt by the common whipper ; and the inquest, on 
their addressing the governor for a proclamation, 
offering a reward for a discovery of the author, 
received a gracious answer. 

The council, about the same time, urged the 
assembly to a conference for detecting the writer 
of certain other libels in Zenger's Journal. Several 


met accordingly with the council committee, who 
were, Messrs. Clark, Harison, Golden, Livingston, 
Kennedy, chief justice Delancey, Courtlandt, Lane, 
and Horsmanden. The latter desired the concur- 
rence of the house in an address to the governor, 
for the prosecution of the printer, the detection of 
the author, and a proclamation stimulating the 
magistrates to greater exertions for the preserva- 
tion of peace The assembly met, and ordered the 
papers, to be kept by their clerk, postponing the 
consideration of the matter to a further day ; and 
when that arrived, ordered the libels and proposal 
of the council to lie on the table. 

Despairing of any aid from the assembly, they re- 
demanded their papers ; and, converting themselves 
instantly into a privy council, made an order for 
burning the libels, and then directed the following 
entry in their minutes : — 

" At a council held at fort George, in New- York, the 

2d of November, 1734: 


His excellency William Gosby, esq. captain-general 

and governor in chief, &c. 
Mr. Glarke, Mr. Livingston, Mr. Gourtlandt, 
Mr, Harison, Mr. Kennedy, Mr. Lane, 
Dr. Golden, Mr. Ghief Justice, Mr. Horsmanden. 
" Whereas, by an order of this board of this day, 
some of John Peter Zenger's journals, entitled 
* The New- York Weekly Journal, containing the 
freshest advices, foreign and domestic,' Nos. 7, 47, 
48, 49, were ordered to be burnt by the hands of 
the common hangman or whipper, near the pillory 
in this city, on Wednesday the 6th instant, between 


the hours of eleven and twelve in the forenoon, as 
containing in them many things tending to sedition 
and faction, to bring his majesty's government into 
contempt, and to disturb the peace thereof; and con- 
taining in them, likewise, not only reflections upon 
his excellency the governor in particular, and the 
legislature in general, but also upon the most con- 
siderable persons in the most distinguished stations 
in this province. It is therefore ordered, that the 
mayor and magistjates of this city do attend at the 
burning of the several papers or journals aforesaid, 
numbered as above mentioned." 

When the sheriflT moved for the compliance of 
the magistrates at the quarter sessions, the court 
would not suffer the order to be entered, and the 
aldermen offered a protest against it, as an arbitrary 
and illegal injunction. Harison, the recorder, was 
present, and put to a defiance for its justification. 
He mentioned the example of the lords in Sache- 
veral's case, and their proceedings against bishop 
Burnet's pastoral letter, and withdrew. They forbid 
even their whipper to obey it, and his place was 
supplied by a negro slave of the sheriff's ; the 
recorder, and a few dependants upon the governor, 
honoring the solemnity of executing this edict with 
their presence. Not many days after, Zenger, in 
pursuance of a proclamation, was seized, thrown 
into jail, and denied pen, ink, and paper. His friends 
procured a habeas corpus for his enlargement. The 
exceptions to his return were argued by his counsel, 
Messrs. Alexander and Smith. 

The prisoner swore, that, except the tools of his 
trade, he was not worth forty pounds in the world, 


and yet bail was exacted in the penalty of eight 
hundred pounds ; upon this he was enlarged, and 
being well supported, prosecuted his paper. 

Of the several bills before the house, which con- 
tinued sitting to the 28th November, the governor 
was most solicitous for that regulating the militia, 
and another to emit bills of credit to the value of 
twelve thousand pounds. Both were carried, to the 
great joy of the court party. By the offices and 
distinctions, which the former enabled the governor 
to confer, and the influence to be gained by the 
latter, he was enabled to employ the lower classes 
in constructing the intended fortifications, and, of 
course, had a prospect of dividing and weakening 
the torrent of opposition. 

Against the bill for emitting money, there was an 
instruction, requiring a clause to suspend its opera- 
tion till the royal pleasure could be known. It was 
expedient to the governor's aims, that the king's 
command should, nevertheless, be disobeyed, it 
being very naturally conjectured, that, in a time of 
profound peace a probationary law could not be 
very speedily confirmed. To exculpate the governor, 
Mr. Chief Justice Delancey, after the bill was gone 
up to his excellency, brought a copy of the royal pro- 
hibition to the assembly, and requested a committee 
of their house to meet certain members of the 
council, to form a 'joint address of both houses 
importuning him to pass it. 

Mr. Delancey the elder, Mr. Justice Philipse, and 
several others, met to execute the scheme that very 
evening, and the next day the address was reported, 
approved, and presented, but not without some 


Opposition ; for the country party carried, at the 
same time, a motion requesting the governor to 
dissolve that assembly, to which his friends the 
more readily yielded, as his excellency agreed to 
take the odium to himself of refusing their request, 
in return for their intercession to save him from the 
indignation of the crown.* 

Exasperated at the menaces of the governor, and 
their despair of prevailing upon the assembly to 
check his designs, the demagogues formed the pro- 
ject of presenting an accusation against him to the 
king. The complaint was to be trusted to the 
superceded chief justice, but it was thought neces- 
sary that the design should be a secret till he was 
actually embarked ; for, without leave of absence, 
he would endanger his seat in the house. 

Mr. Morris had a farm on the sea-coast of New- 
Jersey, for which province he was of the council, 
and where he sometimes resided, as well for the dis- 
charge of his office, as the care of a very opulent 
fortune in that colony. Before the ship was ready 
for the voyage, he asked leave to go home, and it 
was granted without further explanation. He 
repaired to Shrewsbury house, and made his dispo- 
sitions without observation. From thence he took 
ship, nor, till his actual departure, was there any 
inquiry, concerning the double construction of the 
permission he had obtained, to authorise his absence 
from the house. 

The grand jury of the term to which Zenger was 

^ The reader will find further instances of such artifices, naturally to be 
expected when the colony legislatures are in league to promote the interest of 
each other. 


bound over, refusing to indict him, Mr. Bradley the 
attorney-general, proceeded against him by infor- 
mation, and his patrons, to puzzle the prosecutor, 
ventured to impeach the authority of his judges. 

His counsel, in April term, 1735, took oyer of 
their commissions, and signed and filed exceptions 
to them: 1st, To the tenure, which was will and 
pleasure, as contrary to the statute of William the 
third. 2dly, To the investiture of the same persons 
with the authority of the common pleas. 3dly, To 
the form, as not warranted by the common, or 
statute law, or any act of the colony. 4thly, To the 
want of evidence that the council concurred in the 

The judges lost all temper at the tender of the 
exceptions, and desired the defendant's counsel to 
consider the consequences of their offer. They 
replied boldly, that they had : Mr. Smith added, 
that he was so well satisfied of the rights of the 
subject to except to the commission of his judges, 
if he thought it illegal, that he would stake his life 
upon the question, and desired to be heard upon 
that point, as well as in support of the exceptions 

The matter was adjourned, and, upon Mr. Smith's 
renewing the motion, the next day (16th April), the 
chief justice, in great heat, said, " He would neither 
allow nor hear the exceptions. You thought to 
have gained a great deal of popularity and applause 
by opposing this court as you did the court of the 
exchequer, but you have brought it to that point, 
that, either we must go from the bench, or you from 
the bar" — handing?, at the same time, the minute to 


the clerk to be entered : — " James Alexander, esq. 
and William Smith, attorneys of this court, having 
presumed (notwithstanding they were forewarned 
by the court of their dupieamre, if they should do 
it,) to sign, and having actually signed, and put into 
court, exceptions in the name of John Peter Zen- 
ger ; thereby denying the legality of the judges, 
their commissions, though in the usual form, and 
the being of this supreme court : 

" It is therefore ordered, that, for the said con- 
tempt, the said James Alexander and William 
Smith be excluded from further practice in this 
court, and that their names be struck out of the roll 
of the attorneys of this court." 

Mr. Alexander observed, that the exceptions 
went to the commissions and not to the being of 
the court. " I think (replied the chief justice) 
that they are against the being of the courL'*^ The 
counsel both denied it, insisting that the court 
could exist, though all the commissions were void. 
The judge then perceived his error, and confessed 
the distinction well taken. They urged, but in 
vain, that the entry might be altered. Mr. Alex- 
ander desired to be informed, whether they rejected 
or overruled the exceptions. Mr. DeJancey owned 
that he knew not the difference. If you reject them, 
said the counsel, the defendant will make them a 
part of the proceedings by bill of exception ; but if 
you overrule them, they will be so without a bill. 
Diffident, and not discerning their aim, the judges, 
for a present escape, said, they would hear them 
the next day ; but, to avoid that, insisted, that in 
conformity to the rule of the preceding day, their 

VOL. JI. — 4 


client should speak by other counsel. It was then 
remarked, that the order only inhibited their prac- 
tising as attorneys, and no other answer was given, 
than that they meant to exclude them from acting 
in both capacities. 

The defendant's case now wore a very gloomy 
complexion, for there were, at that day, but two 
other gentlemen of any reputation at the bar ; Mr. 
Murray, as already has been shown, was a partisan 
of the governor's ; and Mr. Chambers, the other, 
more distinguished for a knack at haranguing a jury, 
than his erudition in the law. Him the court 
assigned as counsel to Zenger, though he had no 
inclination to serve him. He, therefore, abandoned 
the mode of defence chalked out by his first advo- 
cates, and taking ground safer to himself, pleaded 
the general issue for his client, and obtained a rule 
for a struck jury. 

The trial was brought on at the court in July, and 
nothing omitted by the silenced lawyers to give it a 
favourable issue. The press had groaned all the 
preceding vacation, with every species of composi- 
tion, tending to animate, alarm, inform, or captivate 
the minds of the multitude ; and the stratagem to 
deprive the defendant of help, disserved the end 
for which it was intended. Aware of the inadmissi- 
bility of all proof to justify the libels, they had the 
art to exhibit them to the public by the press, and 
at clubs, and other meetings for private conversa- 
tion ; and, considering the inflamed state of a small 
county, consisting at that time of less than a 
thousand freeholders qualified for jurors, it was 
easy to let every man perfectly into the full meritf? 


of the defence. Besides, he drew some advantages 
from a struck jury, since he could nearly conjecture, 
out of a pannel of twenty-four men, which of the 
twelve would be charged with his cause. 

These preparations being made, Mr. Hamilton, 
who had been secretly engaged, presented himself 
on the day of trial as the champion of liberty. He 
was of one of the inns of court, an opulent citizen 
of Philadelphia, in high reputation at the bar. He 
had art, eloquence, vivacity, and humour, was am- 
bitious of fame, negligent of nothing to ensure 
success, and possessed a confidence which no 
terrors could awe. He set out by asserting, with a 
firmness unabashed, and which often goes far to 
persuade, that the matters charged as scandal were 
true, and therefore no libels ; and indulged such a 
vein of ridicule against the law advanced by the 
judges, that a libel was the more dangerous for its 
truth, that the ignorant audience, judging from the 
superiority of the bar to the bench, in talents and 
assurance, held the court in contempt, and thought 
the refusal of the judges to permit evidence of the 
truth of the publications, added to the tyranny and 
oppression of the times. 

His debates with the court were protracted, till 
he could turn with the greater address to the jury 
in the tone of complaint, and artfully convert the 
guilty nakedness of the cause of his client into a 
defence. Having captivated their minds into a 
belief that, if the scandals were true, Zenger was 
not criminal, he recapitulated the passages in the 
journals supposed to have given umbrage to the 
government, and for ridiculing the uncertainty of 


Mr. Attorney's inuendoes. He made others with 
artful allusions to past events, which the auditors 
had read or heard and believed to be true ; and 
when he left his client in those hands, such was the 
fraudful dexterity of the orator, and the severity of 
his invectives upon the governor and his adherents, 
that the jury missing the true issue before them, 
they, as if triers of their rulers rather than Zenger, 
pronounced the criminal innocent because they 
believed them to be guilty. 

The instant the verdict was known, the impetuous 
acclamation shouted by the audience shook the hall, 
and a mixture of amazement, terror, and wrath, 
appeared in the bench. One of the judges threa- 
tened an imprisonment of the leader in this tumult, 
if he could be discovered. A threat unseasonably 
uttered, unless they had courage and ability to put 
it in execution; for it provoked a justification from 
captain Norris, a son of the knighted admiral of 
that name, and connected with chief justice Morris 
by the marriage of his daughter, who pertly declared, 
that huzzas were common in Westminster hall, and 
were very loud in the acquittal of the seven bishops. 
The judges had no time for a reply, for the shouts 
were instantly repeated, and Mr. Hamilton was 
conducted from the hall, by the crowd, to a splendid 
entertainment. The whole city renewed the com- 
pliment at his departure the next day ; he entered 
the barge under a salute of cannon, and the corpora- 
tion presented him with the freedom of the city in a 
gold box, on which its arms were engraved, encircled 
with the words, " Demersae leges — time facta liber- 
tas — hfec tandem emergunt ;" in a flying garter 


within, " Non nummis, virtute paratur," and on the 
other front, " Ita cuique eveniat ut de respublica 

As it happens on such occasions as these, the 
scribblers of the day grew more wanton than ever, 
and a low printer, dandled upon the knee of popular 
applause, gave into prodigalities, which contributed 
to his indolence, and ended, as the ferment subsided, 
in the ruin of his family. 

The contending parties now left no stone unturn- 
ed to gratify their revenge. The English patentees 
of the "Oblong," by Mr. Dunbar, their agent, who 
connected himself with JMr. Cosby, and was stimu- 
lated by Harison, urged measures in the court of 
chancery against the New- York patentees. Alex- 
ander and Smith were interested under the last 
grant, and excepted to Cosby's exercise of the 
chancellor's authority, which the governor overruled. 
I have elsewhere observed, that the assemblies were 
jealous of this court in the hands of a governor. 
The colony grantees, therefore, hoped to excite the 
present members to renew the attack, and, with that 
view% remonstrated against the proceedings as soon 
as the house met in autumn ; nor did Zenger's 
counsel omit to lay before them a complaint against 
the judges for depriving them of their practice. 
They were heard by the committee of grievances 
on the 23d October, a copy of the complaint ordered 
to be served on the judges, and an answer required 
in forty days. The citizens, also, by a petition, 
suggesting that the long session of the assembly 
was a grievance, urged a new attempt for a dissolu- 
tion, which the governor again refused, though the 

30 HISTORY OF i\j:w-york. 

members unaninioujsly asked his consent. They 
then resolved, tiiat the court of chancery, under the 
exercise of a governor, without consent of the 
general assembly, is contrary to law, unwarrantable, 
and of dangerous consequence to the liberties and 
properties of the people. 

Tiie opposition, now taking courage, informed the 
house, by a petition from Queens couniy, that the 
long continuance of the assembly occasioned a 
decay of trade and a depreciation of lands, which 
so highly incensed the majority as to occasion a vote, 
that the charge was an unjust and audacious misre- 
presentation. Zenger's counsel, about the same 
time, insinuated that the distant day, assigned for 
the answer of the judges with their complaints, was 
an illusion of that justice they had a right to 
expect. Disgusted by this freedom, the members 
resolved that it should not ever be read, and the 
very next day adjourned, with the governor's con- 
sent, to the latter end of March. 

It was a parting forever, for Mr. Cosby died on 
the 10th of that month,* and, as the reader may 
suppose, almost universally detested ; for, besides 
the aforementioned instances of imprudence, into 
which he was willingly led by the men of his 
confidence, he increased the number of his enemies 
by destroying certain deeds to the city of Albany, 
and a project he had formed for a re-survey of the 
old patents on Long Island. The Mohawks saga- 
ciously dreading the rapid progress of population, 
had conveyed a very valuable part of their territory 

* lOth March, 1736. 


to the corporation, to take effect upon the total 
dissolution of their tribe. It was produced to 
convince the governor of the injustice of granting it 
to private patentees ; but after the perusal of it, 
which he perfidiously requested for his satisfaction, 
he threw it into the fire, and it was instantly 

His design against the people of Long Island 
originated from the same motive : he hoped to 
enrich himself by the acquisition of lands already 
improved, as well as by fees for the new grants. 

It cannot be denied, that our old grants and pa- 
tents are very inaccurately penned, nor that, in some 
instances, the proprietors have taken advantages of 
the description of their limits by marked trees, 
Indian names of places, and other uncertain bound- 
aries, to extend their possessions too far ; and cer- 
tainly, if they were confined to the true object of 
their grants, they would have no just cause of com- 
plaint : but a re-survey for this purpose cannot 
be executed without difficulty and danger, nor 
attempted without spreading universal discontent. 
Though a second patent will not convey what was 
comprehended in the first grant, yet a wise and 
generous ruler will perceive that the small emolu- 
ment, which he may add to his quit-rents, is over- 
balanced by the innumerable mischiefs flowing from 
the increase of animosities and the multiplication of 
law-suits, and find himself (if his intentions are 
upright) not a little embarrassed in the construction 
of the ancient grants of the country, most of which 
are derived from the duke of York, when a subject. 
At that early day, the great object was to gain a 


dominion over these vast deserts, by joining occu- 
pancy to discovery, for the effectual exclusion of 
any other European power. To acconnplish that 
end, grants were penned with all the negligence of 
liberality, and the giver being benefited more by 
his seeming bounty, than the adventurous grantee, 
who could not, even afier acquiring his title from 
the duke and the crown, cultivate the soil in safety, 
without buying peace from the savaofes, and that as 
often as they were pleased to renew their claims. 
To this the modern interpreter of the old grants, if 
he will guard against error or injustice, must neces- 
sarily attend. But who could confide in a governor, 
stimulated to the measure, not so much by a regard 
to the interests of his master, as his own avarice. 
Long Island, at that time, comprehended a third 
part of the improved lands of the colony, and no 
man knowing whether his best improved possessions 
might not fall beyond the lines assigned for his 
tract, the inhabitants were almost universally alarm- 
ed, and were as suspicious of the governor and his 
re-survey, as the patricians of Rome were formerly 
of the Gracchi and their agrarian laws. 

But no representation, repugnant to his avarice, 
had any influence upon Mr. Cosby The weakness 
of his understanding rendered him reprehensible 
even to fear. In answer to the great objection, that 
a certain doctrine was against law, he sillily replied, 
"How, gentlemen, do you think I mind that : alas I 
I have a great interest in England." It is some 
extenuation of his faults, that he was the dupe of 
others ; and an apology for Mr. Delancey, his chief 
minister, that he was then a young man, ill read in 


a profession, which he took up without aid, and, by 
his education abroad, was little acquainted with the 
affairs of the colony. 

Mr. Cosby's remains were buried in the chapel 
within the walls of the fort, in which he died. His 
widow repaired to England after one of her daugh- 
ters, advantageously connected with lord Augustus 
Fitzroy, son to the duke of Grafton. The match 
was clandestinely brought about by the intrigues 
of Mrs. Cosby, lord Augustus being then on his 
travels through the provinces ; and to blind his 
relations and secure the governor from the wrath 
of his father, then a favourite of king George the 
second, a mock prosecution was instituted against 
Campbell, the parson, who had scaled the fort walls 
and solemnized the nuptials, without a written license 
from the governor, or any publication of the banns, 
contrary to usage, though not against the law of the 

The exultation of the populace, occasioned by 
Mr. Cosby's death, and the expectation that Mr. Van 
Dam was again to take the helm, was excessive, 
for they had despaired of any success from Mr. 
Morris's complaints ; news arriving in February, 
that the lords of the committee, after hearing counsel 
against the governor, had, on the 7th of November 
before, reported, that the reasons for removing him 
were insufficient. The celebrated Mr. Murray, 
afterwards lord Mansfield, retained against him, 
exerted himself on this occasion, and introduced his 
accusation with the delicate observation, that if 
his majesty could delegate his virtues as easily as 
his authority, their lordships would not have been 

VOL. II. — 5 


called to the trouble of that hearing. But it was 
not many hours before the triumph of the patriots 
was checked by the report, that Van Dam had been 
privately suspended since the 24th of the preceding 

The council, Messrs. Clarke, Alexander, Van 
Home, Kennedy, Delancey, Courtlandt, Lane, and 
Horsmanden, met, and administered the oaths to 
Mr. Clarke as the president, who issued a proclama- 
tion, announcing the succession as by the unanimous 
opinion of the board. Mr. Alexander, who was 
struck at this meeting with the act of suspension, and 
had really given no opinion, was obliged, to save 
his popularity, to publish his non -concurrence, and 
impeach the truth of the proclamation. 

Van Dam the next day asserting his title, called 
upon Mrs. Cosby for the great seal with the commis- 
sion and instructions, and when denied access, he 
demanded them in writing of Mr. Clarke, to whom 
they had been delivered The possessor insisted 
upon the suspension, appealing to the king. The 
other addressed the people by a protest against 
Clarke's proceedings, and the council who qualified 
him, and all their aiders and abettors, declaring that 
Cosby was delirious and non compos at the moment 
of the suspension, and the act, therefore, invalid : 
that if he had been sane, his power was sufficient to 
exclude him from acting as a counsellor, but not to 
interrupt his succession to the command : that it lost 
its efficacy at the death of the governor, and that the 
council had no authority to qualify Mr. Clarke. 

Clarke disregarding this claim of his antagonist, 
though supported by the popular voice, adjourned 


the assembly, and drove Van Dam to insist, as they 
did not meet according to the prior adjournment, 
that Clarke's act was invalid, himself guilty of a 
very high crime, and the house dissolved. The 
members, however, met on the day to which Mr. 
Clarke adjourned them, and being bewildered by 
their repugnant pretensions, and unwilling to enlist 
on the one side or the other, returned home and 
continued under repeated adjournments, till the 
crown interfered for a decision of the controversy. 

This anarchy urged to no open violence till the 
14th October, when by the charter of the capital, 
the officers of the year, who were to be nominated or 
elected onthe 29th September, were to take the ne- 
cessary oaths, and begin the discharge of their trusts. 

Van Dam's party prevailed at the election for the 
aldermen and common council : the citizens choosing 
such as would act with a mayor, recorder, sheriff, 
and coroner, of his appointing, as president of the 
council ; and he accordingly named — Cornelius Van 
Home, mayor ; Mr. Smith, recorder ; Mr. Ashfield, 
sheriff; and Mr. NichoUs, coroner. Mr. Clarke 
concurred in none of these but the last, and consti- 
tuted Mr. Richard to be mayor ; Mr. Horsmanden, 
recorder, and Mr. Cosby to be sheriff; and, by a 
proclamation of the 1st October, warned Van Dam's 
officers against the danger of assuming any authority 
under his appointments. 

The opposition lost all temper at this juncture, 
and to animate their followers, boldly menaced 
Clarke, in print, with a prosecution. An extract 
from a paper of that day will show the excess to 
which the spirit of party was carried. 


" Whatever desire some of the subjects of the 
British dominions may have to be above the law 
and tread it under foot, yet the law ought to be and 
will, at the long run, get above them. It is too 
strong a body to contend with, and he who does it 
will hardly escape a fall. Of this the honourable 
Francis Harison, esq. counsellor, is a recent ex- 
ample.^ All the power he had to support him could 
not prevent a fall. If Mr. Clarke be not entitled to 
the administration, I believe a grand jury of New- 
York will think him guilty of high treason for 
usurping, and indict him accordingly. I do not 
believe that they will think his superiority, or their 
subordination, will excuse them^ for not doing it. 
Their oath is to present all offenders. I hitherto have 
not heard of any exception in it, either of counsellors 
or commanders-in-chief. They are as subject to the 
law as the meanest man in New-York, let their desire 
be ever so strong to be above it ; and if the grand 
jury indicts, I doubt not the court will issue the pro- 
cess thereof to apprehend him and try him by twelve 
lawful men of New-York, where the fact was 
committed. If he is taken, I doubt not but that he 
will have the liberty of pleading his superiority and 
the subordination of the court and jury against their 
jurisdiction. I doubt not but that the plea will be 
fully heard as it ought to be, and that his lawyers 
may speak freely in support of it, notwithstanding 
the late precedents of condemning unheard-upon 

* He went off privately to England in 1736. It was imagined that Mr. 
Cosby sent him to watch and oppose the attempts of col. Morris, and that the 
governor's death plunged hira into poverty and prevented his return. He 
did not long survive that event. 


pleas to jurisdiction, and of silencing lawyers for 
offering them, and notwithstanding all the part he 
had in making of such precedents ; and if his 
lawyers can make it out, that he is above and out of 
the reach of the law, the court ought to allow the 
plea ; but if they can't, as I believe they cannot, he 
must there hold up his hand as well as the meanest 
and most arch pickpocket that ever was in New- 
York, and either confess and be hanged, or say not 
guilty and put himself for his trial on God and his 
country : and if such be his case, 1 hope justice he 
may depend upon. But what charity twelve good 
men of New- York, sworn to try him, will have for 
him, he, by running over his past services to the 
properties, liberties, and privileges of this country, 
may in some measure be able to judge. But, 
however, as a christian I shall be obliged, in that 
case, to join in the clerk's prayer, and say, God send 
you a good deliverance,'''* 

These hints were formidable, because the rage 
of the multitude was so exasperated, and their 
confidence in the demagogues so absolute, that the 
latter had only to advise Van Dam to appoint judges 
to accomplish the tragedy of cutting off the com- 
mander-in-chief, who actually called into the fort 
all the officers and soldiers of the independent 
companies, for his protection against the expected 
horrors of the approaching day for qualifying the 
magistrates of the metropolis. During these agita- 
tions Mr. Morris, whose arrival at Boston was not 
known here till the 18th September, was impatiently 
expected, and the rather because he had only given 
his adherents liberty to think favourably of his 


restoration. He did not reach Morrisania till the 
7th October. He was met the day after by a vast 
concourse, and conducted with loud acclamations 
to a meeting of the chiefs of the party. Having 
learnt to what extremes the contests were ad- 
vanced, and being importuned for his advice, he 
replied with a grave tone, " If you don't hang 
them, they will hang you" — and the evening was 
spent, after dispersing money from the windows of 
the house to the rabble in the streets, with a 
tempestuous festivity and joy. He declared it as 
his own opinion, that Van Dam had a right to the 
administration ; that he was willing to execute the 
office of chief justice under him; that the assembly 
was dissolved, and that force ought to ba opposed 
to force, if Clarke insisted upon his authority. 

The assembly was convened on the 1 2th, and Mr. 
Morris, the next day, obtained their leave to visit 
New-Jersey, where he said the public service 
required his presence. Van Dam's magistrates had 
resolved to act the next day, and resolutions were 
taken to support them by violence; but fortunately 
for both parties, within twenty-four hours of the 
eruption of the meditated civil war, the brigantine 
Endeavour arrived from England, with despatches 
from the government to Mr. Clarke, as president and 
commander-in-chief of the province, enclosing an 
instruction altering the prayers for the royal family, 
upon the marriage of the prince and princess of 

From that moment his opposers became mute and 
abashed, and his officers were sworn in and obeyed. 
Mr. Morris was publicly charsfed with the knowled^re 


of this act of government. It was asserted, that his 
son, Robert, who accompanied him, had revealed it 
at Boston, declaring that Mr. Clarke would receive 
the instruction by a vessel which had already arrived; 
and to confirm the accusation, it was observed, that 
it bore date the 1st July, several weeks before he 
embarked. But his friends treated it as a calumny, 
not only because so base a concealment was incon- 
sistent with his character and his own positive denial, 
but with the safety of his son Lewis, and Ashfield, 
his son-in-law, who had rendered themselves very 
obnoxious in supporting Mr. Van Dam. 

Mr. Clarke delivered his first speech to the assem- 
bly in the calm of the so much dreaded 14th of Octo- 
ber. He challenged their promise to his predecessor 
for supplying the deficiency of the revenue, and 
repeated his instances for the encouragement of 
ship building, persuaded to the cultivation of hemp, 
finishing the fortifications, erecting a new fort at the 
head of the Mohawk river, and the settlements of 
Smiths in the Seneca country ; and to humor the 
clamors within doors, he consented to introduce the 
practice, which has ever since prevailed, of absenting 
himself from the council, when they sit as a branch 
of the legislature. 

During the session, his hands were strengthened 
by his advancement to the rank of lieutenant-gover- 
nor. The commission was dated the 30th July, and 
published here on the 30th October ; but yet nothing 
of any considerable moment was transacted, and 
after an address, to congratulate the king on the 
marriage of the prince of Wales, and the passing of 
a few common bills, he put an end to a peaceful, 


ijiactive session, by a prorogation on the 7th of 

He met them again in April, and earnestly urged 
the payment of the arrears due to the public credi- 
tors, occasioned by the defect of their funds, and a 
new act for supporting the government, the other 
being nearly expired. But little could be expected 
from an assembly fearful of their constituents, and 
consisting of a respectable minority intent upon a 
dissolution. Hence their consent to a motion of 
Mr. Morris, junior's, for leave to bring in a bill for 
triennial elections and the exclusion of crown officers. 
Mr. Clarke soon discovered that his assembly was 
grown dastardly, that the debts of the colony amount- 
ed to near nine thousand pounds, and that they 
meant to postpone the payment to prolong their 
own existence. He artfully made his court to the 
collective body, by a speech to the house in terms of 
real or affected disgust, charging them with a neglect 
of the interests both of the crown and colony, and 
then dissolved an assembly elected in 1728, of whom 
their constituents were tired, as he suggested in his 

The lieutenant-governor was an Englishman. 
His uncle, Mr. Blaithwait, procured the secretary's 
place for him, and sent him out with it early in the 
reign of queen Anne. He had genius, but no other 
than a common writing-school education ; nor did 
he add to his stock by reading, for he was more 
intent upon improving his fortune than his mind. He 
was sensible, artful, active, cautious ; had a perfect 
command of his temper, and was in his address, 
specious and civil. Nor was any man better acquaint- 


ed with the colony and its affairs. As a crown 
officer he was careful not to lose the favour of any 
governor, and still more assiduous to please when he 
became the second at the council board. He shared 
apart of the odium which fell upon Mr. Cosby, but 
escaped much more of it by a closer attachment than 
before to his rural villa on the edge of Hempstead 
plams, and left it to Mr Delancey to enjoy the praise 
or blame of being the Sejanus of that governor. 
The public confusions contributed to the gratifica- 
tion of his wishes. Dreading Van Dam's power, 
his fellow-counsellors easily concurred in persuading 
Cosby to suspend him, and the anarchy which 
instantly ensued upon that governor's decease, and 
his own representations, left the ministry no time to 
think of any other person for the place of lieutenant- 
governor. Nothing now alarmed him but the arrival 
of a governor-in-chief. Lord Delaware had early 
engaged the promise of the minister ; but a peer of 
the realm was only to be induced to accept so 
humiliating a station by the prospect of a speedy 
repair of his finances, and Mr. Clarke knew how to 
improve a disposition so favourable to his own ends. 
His lordship declared, that Mr. Clarke's letters 
concerning the colony were perplexed and discou- 
raging. Those who were acquainted with Mr. 
Clarke knew, that, if he wrote obscurely upon such 
a subject, it must have been with design. 

The country party found no difficulty in securing 
a majority at the election^ The citizens chose Mr. 
Alexander of the council for one of their representa- 
tives. The house met about midsummer 1737^ and 
Mr. Morris, junior, was placed in the chair. 

VOL. TT — 6 


Mr. Clarke had paved the way towards a reconci- 
liation by the dissolution, and, as he had shaken the 
attachment of his old friends, perceived a necessity 
for caution in the management of the heated patriots 
of the new house ; for, till they had time to offend, 
he could hope for nothing by another dissolution. — 
His speech, according to the exigency of the day, 
was a short one, and asked nothing. 

He had dissolved the late house, as he suggested, 
in tenderness to the king's honor and the true 
interest of the colony, and was happy to find the 
people had answered his wishes in so proper a 
choice of new members. He intended to meet the 
chiefs of the confederate Indian cantons, to obstruct 
the sale to the French of a tract in the territory of 
the Seneca tribe, called Irondequot, on the south 
side of lake Ontario, convenient for erecting a 
commercial magazine, that might be injurious to 
ours at Oswego ; and all he had to recommend, 
was their aid in perfecting the harmony already 
begun, in which he promised his assistance. 

They thanked him for the dissolution, and 
applauded his sagacity ; wished him a good voyage 
to Albany, and hoped their next meeting would 
have consequences answerable to its end. 

They sat only two days ; but entered on their 
journals, as resolved, in future, to publish the names 
of the voters for and against any question : and gave 
leave to their speaker, which is singular, to bring in 
a variety of bills : one to regulate elections ; another 
for frequent elections ; and others for appointing an 
agent in Great Britain, independent of the governor ; 
for lowering the interest of money, and for regulating 


B,nd establishing fees. Mr. Alexander, immediately 
after was permitted to offer others, to encourage the 
importation of whites and servants ; the manufacture 
of iron and hemp ; and the preventing of frauds in 
flour and other products intended for exportation. 
These acts had the designed effect upon the vulgar, 
and were applauded as indisputable testimonials of 
the patriotism of their leaders. 

Mr. Clarke went to Albany, and had a conference 
with the Indians, but was not able to accomplish his 
designs. Irondequot is a vale of an excellent soil ; 
and he was desirous of purchasing it from the 
Indians, not only to defeat the intentions of the 
French, but to promote settlements there, for the 
easier subsistence of the garrison and traders at 
Oswego. But he established an interpreter, a 
gunsmith, and three others among the Senecas, to 
watch and circumvent the intrigues of the French, 
and prevailed upon the tribes to prohibit any 
buildings in their canton. 

He was well apprised that the next meeting of the 
assembly would call for the utmost exertion of his 
abilities. Cosby's antagonists, to protect themselves, 
had taught lessons to the multitude, now to be carried 
into practice, if they would escape the contempt they 
had brought upon the members of the last house. 

The council, on the other hand, headed the 
remains of the Cosbyan party, and were not a little 
disgusted at the late dissolution, which had comple- 
ted the triumph of their adversaries. Both parties 
were distrustful of the lieutenant-governor, and upon 
the watch to engage him in their interests. 

He had to curb the intemoeratc zeal of tht> 


assembly, to quiet the council, and prevent the 
resentment of the crown. But there was danger in 
humouring the council; for an unmanageable assem- 
bly prompts to suspicions of incapacity, and would 
either be followed with a loss of his office, or the 
speedy arrival of a governor-in-chief: add to this, 
that new supplies were necessary for the discharge 
of public debts, and the support of the government 
in future ; and that the leaders of the two contending 
branches of the legislature were men animated by a 
spirit of revenge — Mr. Chief Justice Delancey 
swaying the councils of the upper house, w^hile 
colonel Morris, his predecessor, his son Lewis, the 
speaker, and Mr. Alexander, undoubtedly had the 
confidence of the assembly. 

The governor's interest induced him to take a 
middle path ; and by his art and prudence, a long, 
active session, from the 23d August to the 16th 
December, terminated in peace, which the turbu- 
lency of the late administration rendered doubly 

He opened the session v^^ith a conciliatory speech; 
applauded the proofs left upon their journals in 
April, of their attention to the state of the colony; 
tenderly reminded them, that the crown's right of 
disallowing the colony laws, rendered it useless to 
press him to ineffectual concurrences ; touched upon 
the deficiency of the funds ; commended their 
loyalty, and asked for a revenue ; intimated his 
anxiety for the support of Oswego, and the extent of 
the Indian commerce, which were great objects ; and 
promised his assent to all bills that would advance 
t he Tvelfare of the colonv. 


The address unusually copious, bold, and coarse, 
seizes his compliments as promises, which they mean 
to put to the trial ; stigmatises the last assembly as 
betrayers of the rights of the people, by detestable 
submissions to prolong their political life : after 
which they argue with some earnestness upon the 
propriety of frequent and uninfluenced elections ; 
the utility of an agent in Great Britain dependent 
only upon the house ; the propriety of establishing 
courts, and especially courts of equity, and the fees 
of officers by legislative acts, instead of ordinances. 
They proceeded then to obviate the ordinary 
objections drawn from the prerogative, and a due 
obedience to the royal instructions. They imputed 
the deficiency of the revenue to prodigality; impeach 
their predecessors in granting permanent funds, and 
tax the receivers w^ith ingratitude ; roundly assure 
him that they mean to discontinue that practice ; 
**for," to use their words, ** you are not to expect that 
we either will raise sums unfit to be raised, or put 
what we shall raise into the power of a governor to 
misapply, if we can prevent it ; nor shall we make 
up any other deficiencies than what we conceive are 
fit and just to be paid, or continue what support or 
revenue we shall raise, for any longer time than one 
year ; nor do we think it convenient to do even that 
until such laws are passed as we conceive necessary 
for the safely of the inhabitants of this colony, who 
have reposed a trust in us, for that only purpose, and 
which we are sure you will think it reasonable we 
should act agreeably to : and by the grace of God, 
we will endeavour not to deceive them." In honor 
to themselves, they compliment him for his neglect- 


ing to influence the late elections, and take it as a 
pledge of his good conduct in future. Throughout 
the whole, they arc cautious to promise him nothing 
but a vigilance for the public interest ; and when they 
thank him for his firomises, they impute them to a 
consciousness that they are not favours, but duties; 
and if he performs them, they will then consider him 
as fulfilling the commands and copying the example 
of the king, *' who makes the good and hap})iness of 
his subjects his chiefest care and greatest glory." 

Mr. Clarke, who knew that all this was concio ad 
populum, far from intimating the least displeasure 
at its asperity, prudently engaged his assent to the 
election bills, or any others consistent with his duty 
to the crown ; and that in every condition of life, 
the province should have his best services. 

The old party had made some eflTorts at the 
election, but with little success. Their most stre- 
nuous exertions were in the city, during the session, 
to introduce Adolph Philipse, the late speaker, in the 
place of Gerrit Van Home, a deceased member? 
whose son offered himself in the place of his father. 
Before Cosby the sheriff had made a return of 
Mr. Philipse, petitions w^ere preferred by the other 
candidate and his electors, complaining of partiality; 
upon which the house ordered, that neither of them 
should sit, till the conduct of the sheriff had been 
examined and considered. 

Mr. Smith appeared as counsel for Van Home, 
and insisted that Philipse should distinguish which 
of the allegations of his client he denied or 
confessed, that time might be saved in the exhibition 
of the proofs. His antagonist, more consistent 


with the usaofe of parliament, moved and carried 
a majority for a scrutiny of the votes. 

This success provoked an attack upon Mr. Alex- 
ander, who was of the minority on that question. 
It was insisted that, as a member of the council, he 
ought not be admitted to sit in the lower house. 
The result was, a promise on his part that, as he 
had not, since his election, so he would not act in 
council during the continuance of that assembly; 
and a resolve, that while he kept it, he was duly 
qualified, but that on the breach of it, he should be 

Van Home and Philipse were directed to 
exchange lists of the exceptionable electors ; but 
the sheriff and Van Home were first heard, and the 
former acquitted of the charge of misbehaviour. In 
the debates between the candidates, Mr. Smith 
made a question, whether the jews were qualified 
for electors, some of them having voted for Mr. 
Philipse. The cavil was taken up hastily in one 
day, and referred for argument on the next : and a 
resolve carried against the Hebrews by the mere dint 
of eloquence. 

The auditors of this memorable debate of the 
23d September, never mention it without the highest 
encomiums upon the art of the orator.* 

Mr. Murray, as counsel for Mr* Philipse, drily 
urged the authority of the election law, giving a 

'^ Mr. Smith was bom 8th October, 1697, at Newport Pagnel, Buckingham- 
sliire, England ; was then at the age of 40 : he had his first education from 
Mr. Stannard, the minister of Simpson m Bucks, and Mr. Woodward and Mr. 
Lettin, of Newport Pagnel in that county. He left London with his father's 
family, 24th May, 1715, and arrived at New- York 17th of August in the same 


vote to all freeholders of competent estates, without 
excepting the descendants of Abraham, according 
to the flesh ; and with astonishment heard a reply, 
which captivated the audience into an opinion, that 
the exception must be implied for the honor of 
Christianity and the preservation of the constitution. 
The whole history of the conduct of England 
against the jews, was displayed on this occasion, 
and arguments thence artfully deduced against their 
claims to the civil rights of citizenship. After 
expressing the emotions of pity naturally arising 
upon a detail of their sufferings under the avaricious 
and barbarous policy of ancient times, he turned 
the attention of his hearers to that mystery of love 
and terror manifested in the sacrifice of Christ ; and 
so pathetically described the bloody tragedy at 
mount Calvary, that a member cried out with agony 
and in tears, beseeching him to desist, and declaring 
his conviction. Many others wept ; and the unfor- 
tunate Israelites were content to lose their votes, 
€ould they escape with their lives ; for some auditors 
of weak nerves and strong zeal, were so inflamed 
by this oratory, that, but for the interposition of 
their demagogues, and the votes of the house in 
their favour, the whole tribe in this dispersion 
would have been massacred that veryday, for the sin 
of their ancestors in crucifying Jesus of Nazareth, 
and imprecating his innocent blood upon them- 
selve and their children. 

It is at such moments that the arts of persuasion 
show their power, and few men were more eminently 
possessed of them than Van Home's counsellor. 
He had the natural advantages of figure, voice, 


vivacity, memory, imagination, promptness, strong 
passions, volubility, invention, and a taste for 
ornament. These talents were improved by the 
assiduous industry of a robust constitution, with 
uninterrupted health and temperance, in the pursuit 
of various branches of science, and particularly in 
the law and theology. His progress in the latter 
was the more extensive, from an early turn to a life 
of piety and devotion. He studied the Scriptures 
in their originals, when young, and in advanced life 
they were so familiar to him, that he often read 
them to his family in English from the Hebrew or 
Greek, without the least hesitation. He was bred 
a dissenter in Buckinghamshire, and attached to the 
doctrines of Calvin ; a great part of his time was 
spent in the works, French, English, and Latin, of 
the most celebrated divines of that stamp. He wa»s 
for some time in suspense about entering into the 
service of the church Dr. Colman of Boston^ 
upon the perusal of a letter of his penning, in the 
name of the presbyterian church of New York, 
requesting a minister to take the care of it, declared 
that no man could be more fit than he who had so 
well described the character of a proper subject for 
that vacancy. These things are mentioned, to 
account for that surprise of his auditors at that copia 
and oratory which Mr. Smith indulged, when he 
laid aside his law books and took up the bible in the 
debate I have mentioned. He imagined that the 
house would reject the votes of all the non-resident 
freeholders, and if the Jewish voices were struck 
out of the poll-lists, that his client would prevail. 
His religious and political creeds were both inflamed 

VOL. Tl,-— 7 


by the heat of the times. It was natural to a mind, 
trembling several years past for the liberties of the 
colony, and himself then under the rod of oppres- 
sion for asserting them, to take fire at the prospect 
of the most distant inlet of mischief. And perhaps 
he was not himself conscious at that time, of the 
length to which his transition, from the impolicy of 
a Jewish interposition in the legislation of a 
christian community, to the severity of exercising 
it, would carry him. That severity was then to be 
justified, and to this he reconciled his judges by an 
affecting representation of the agonies of the cross. 
He prepared no notes for this memorable speech : 
it was delivered within a few hours after the thought 
of an implicative exception in the election act was 
first conceived ; and the astonishment of the 
audience rose the higher, by the rare instance of so 
much pulpit eloquence from a law character at the 
bar of the house. 

But though the Israelites were rejected, the 
non-resident voices were accepted, and Mr. Philipse, 
with his nephew the second justice, admitted to a 
share in councils which they could neither sway nor 
control. And yet this act of justice to the old 
speaker gave great offence without doors ; the 
majority adopting Mr. Alexander's erroneous opi- 
nion, contrary to legal exposition and parliamentary 
usage, that a personal residence was as requisite in 
the elector, as communion of interests by a compe- 
tent freehold. 

The judges too, about this time, grew not only 
impatient under the reproaches incurred by the order 
for silencinsf Zenirer's counsel, but fearful of its 


consequences. The populace wishing for an oppor- 
tunity, by action for damages, to repay them the 
losses they had sustained, their resentment rose the 
higher, as Mr. Smith, who had h^tely visited Virginia, 
was importuned to remove to that colony. To effect 
a reconciliation, the lieutenant-governor and Mr. 
Murray were employed to feel the pulses of the two 
popular lawyers, and testify the wishes of the judges 
that they would return to the bar. After some 
punctilios, honore servanda, the judges agreed to 
cancel their injurious order, upon the promise of 
the latter to release all actions and damages, under 
the pretext of gratifying the timidity of their wives, 
who were said to be in constant anxiety from the 
apprehension of prosecutions and outrages. And 
in the October term this year, Mr. Alexander and 
Mr. Smith appeared again at the bar, without any 
further condescensions on either side. 

The patriots obtained a variety of popular laws 
in the course of the session. The militia was 
modelled ; the practice of the law amended ; tri- 
ennial elections ordained ; the importation of base 
copper money restrained ; courts for the summary 
decision of petty suits established ; a mathematical 
and grammar school encouraged ; extravagant usury 
prohibited by the reduction of interest from eight 
to seven per cent.; pedlars regulated ; Oswego sup- 
ported, and the Indian commerce promoted ; paper 
money emitted, and a loan office erected ; provision 
made for preserving the metropolis from destruction 
by fires ; and the precedent set for compelling the 
officers of government to a reliance upon the annual 
provision of the assembly for their support. 


But these institutions were nevertheless inade- 
quate to the elevated expectations of the multitude, 
and short of the intentions of their leaders. Other 
bills were brought in, which did not at that time 
pass into laws. They meant to regulate elections, 
and totally to exclude the influence of the crown ; 
to appoint inspectors of exported flour ; to restrain 
the sale of strong liquors to apprentices and servants, 
and to others, upon credit ; to reduce the fees of 
ofiicers ; to engross the appointment of an agent 
at the court of Great Britain; to promote ship- 
building ; and to give the quakers a further indul- 
gence, by exempting them from the trouble of 
producing the certificates of the quarterly meetings, 
required by the late act, of their having been mem- 
bers of that persuasion a year before the oflfer of 
themselves for an afiirmation. Some of these bills 
failed by the opposition of the council, who, on the 
day of the final debates between Van Home and 
Philipse, (12th October,) signified their concurrence 
to two bills in a way not usual, by their clerk. There 
had never been more than three instances of that 
kind, and those were messages to the late assembly, 
between whom and the council, there was a perfect 
concord upon party principles. The ancient usage of 
the council, was to send by one of their own mem- 
bers ; and the present assembly resented the inno- 
vation, and demanded satisfaction for the insult. 

The clerk brought an answer to it a few days 
afterwards, and was immediately ordered back with 
a peremptory declaration, that the assembly would 
thenceforth receive no message from the council by 
that ofl^cer. 


They then began to cavil with the most favourite 
bills of the majority, and embarrass their progress 
by proposing amendments, and sent others to the 
lieutenant-governor with intimation to the house of 
their concurrence, and were also silent as to some 
which they either rejected or neglected to the close 
of the session, and which, for that reason, were 
never passed into laws They, however, abandoned 
the attempt for maintaining an intercourse by their 
clerk; a novelty weakly introduced, because in itself 
unjustifiable, which exposed them to the contempt 
of the people, and would doubtless (if by this folly a 
stagnation of the public business had ensued) have 
incurred, as every futile controversy of that house 
will with a popular assembly, the displeasure of the 
crown and a new set of counsellors* 

To the triennial act, they proposed a variety of 
amendments ; some the assembly rejected ; the 
council adhered to all of them The lower house 
demanded a conference. They consented, and 
appointed Messrs. Livingston, Delancey, and Hors- 
manden their managers. The assembly nominated 
theirs, but bound them by instructions. When the 
joint committees met, the managers for the council 
only delivered a paper with their reasons for their 
amendments. They were reported, and the house 
signified that they were not satisfactory, and repeated 
their demand of a free conference^ This was 
assented to with notice of the time and place. New 
managers were nominated by the assembly, who 
reporting in favour of the amendments, they were 
accordingly adopted. Mr. Alexander was of this 
last committee. The bill, as it was first framed, had 


absurdly, in derogation of the prerogative, made it 
necessary to hold an assembly in the capital and 
not elsewhere. But the loss of bills for regulating 
elections and adjusting the fees of officers, contri- 
buted greatly to the general dissatisfaction ; they 
were both carried Uf) to the council, who were silent 
as to the former, till stimulated by a message con- 
cerning its progress, and then apologized for their 
non-concurrence, till they could be informed of all 
the services the officers were to perform, which were 
not then to be obtained in the multiplicity of busi- 
ness and at the close of the session. I'he act against 
corruption in elections, which also went up late, 
was retarded by the proposal of amendments ; upon 
the receipt of which, Mr. Alexander was desirous 
to appeal to the people, by printing both the bill and 
the alterations. He lost his motion by a single 
voice, and ihe bill was never returned. 

Mr. Clarke put an end to the session three days 
afterwards, affiicting the highest satisfaction with 
their conduct, and expressing his gratitude for their 
regard to his majesty's honor. He had procured the 
pay account of the deficiency of the revenue and the 
augmentation of his own salary to fifteen hundred 
and sixty pounds, and acquired the general esteem 
without risking the resentment of his master, for the 
triennial act was soon after repealed in England, 
and the lower branches of the legislature divided 
between them the odium of all the disappointments 
both of the crown and the subject. 

The assembly before they separated, entered a 
protest on their journals against the new practice of 
the council, in concealino- their concurrence in seve- 


ral laws they passed by the lieutenant-governor, 
which had its effect, for it has not since been adhered 
to. This is a proof that Mr. Clarke was privy to 
the design, it being unusual to re-assemble after 
passing all the laws. 

They snnt the speaker to him with their thanks, 
and requested of his favourable representation to 
procure the royal approbation of the triennial act, 
and then adjourned themselves with his leave. 

The Cosbyan party had, for some time, consider- 
ed the lieutenant-governor as a deserter. He knew 
this, and grew daily suspicious of their power to 
injure him by the agency of the council, whose 
consent was necessary, not only in the appointment 
of officers, but the grant of the waste lands of the 
crown, from which the governor, at that day, derived 
the greater part of his profits and emoluments ; but 
it was also essential to his interest to be upon good 
terms with the assembly, for upon them he depended 
for the continuation of his salary, and he flattered 
himself that he should still be able to re-establish 
the practice of a provision for years. 

In this dilemma he determined to undermine the 
popular leaders. This he effected by encouraging 
them with hopes of preferment, judging that, if 
they took the bait, the people, whom they had 
brought to despise all senators in office, would hold 
them in CMUtempt, and that then he could easily 
attain his own objects, by the dread of a dissolution ; 
such a turn would, at the same time, render the 
council obsequiousto his interest in the land-office, 
where he derived an income, not only as lieutenant- 
<?overnor, but as the secretary and clerk. 


His stratagem succeeded to his wishes. Mr. 
Morris, the speaker, Simon Johnson, and others^ 
listened to his offers of places under the government, 
and Mr. Clarke promised his influence upon the 
council in their favor, after it had been concerted 
that the board should resolutely refuse their con- 
sent. The intrigues of the chief demagogues were 
not known abroad till they themselves discovered the 
snare, and they instantly fell from the heights of 
popularity into the most abject contempt. This 
was the condition of the popular party, not only 
mistrusted, but hated, when Mr. Clarke met them in 
the autumn of 1738. 

Conscious of his superiority, he reminded them^ 
after proposing an address of condolence on the 
death of queen Caroline, that the crown was without 
support by the late project, not warranted by usage 
nor consonant to gratitude, and insisted upon as 
large and long a revenue as formerly. He then 
asserted that they had seventeen thousand pounds 
of bills in circulation, without funds to sink them 
and preserve their credit — proposed the continua- 
tion of the excise for that purpose, but not unless 
they gave the king's government a permanent sup- 
port. He added the unwelcome information, that 
their tonnage duty act of 1734 was in danger of a 
disallowance on representation of the agents of 
other colonies — urged the appointing one for this 
province — insisted on finishing the fortifications, 
and recommended unanimity, as a duty to their 
king and country. 

The elder Morris foresaw the storm, and having 
provided for himself when last in England, he an- 


iiouiiced his appointment to the government of 
New-Jersey, and declining his services here, a writ 
was ordered to supply that vacancy. 

No address being ordered, nor any steps taken, 
except for promoting popular bills, from the 5th to 
the 2 1st September, Mr Clarke prorogued them to 
the 5th October, and again on the 1 1th October to 
the next day. On the 13th he called them before 
him, and insisted upon what he had already men- 
tioned — alarmed them with the intention of the 
French, to make settlements near the Wood Creek, 
not far above Albany — advised the erection of a fort 
there, and planting in that country the Scotch emi- 
grants just arrived, and for whose relief he asked 
their aid ; added, what he had before hinted in a 
letter to the speaker, that the Senecas were treating 
with Mr. Beauharnois,* then the governor of Canada, 
about the land of Irondequot, and recommended an 
immediate prior purchase.! 

They soon after formed the design of tacking 
clauses for the continuation of their paper money to 
the yearly support bill. Mr. Clarke, through their 
speaker, intimated his objections to that proceed- 
ing ; on which they unanimously resolved not to pass 
the support bill without assurances that the paper 
money of 1714 and 1717, and the excise to cancel 
the bills, should be continued for some years. To 
this he replied, that he wjould not assent without a 

* A man of sense and genteel manners, reputed to be a natural son of 
Louis XIV. 

t The history of the disappointments of Captain I^aughlin Campbell and 
his Scotch associates, was anticipated in the first volume, published in 1756, 
which gave offence to Mr. Colden, the surveyor-general, who was uneasy 
under the representation made injustice to those unfortunate adventurers. 

vol,. II. — 8 


permanent revenue. They then resolved on tacking 
the clauses ; and the next day he dissolved them, 
after sliarp reprehensions for their inattention to the 
objects he had recommended, and to facilitate the 
changes he had in view he suspended the new writ 
of summons to the 14th July, 1759. 

The choice of Mr. Adolph Philipse for the chair 
in the next assembly, held in March, is a proof that 
the electors were unfavourable to the anti-Cosbyan 
chiefs; some of the warm men of the last house 
Avere returned, and a dread of the multitude fell 
upon both parties. The collective body, animated 
and enlightened during the late troubles by the 
patriotic publications which were universally read, 
became jealous of the common interests, suspicious 
of all officers, and, by reason of former apostacies, 
more particularly vigilant respecting the conduct of 
such as themselves had raised into power. 

Mr. Clarke's speech, therefore, though importu- 
nate for the re-establishment of the old practices of 
supplies for a number of years, was cautious and 
soothing ; and, after urging the erection and repair 
of forts, the purchase of Irondequot, presents for the 
Indians, and aid to the Scotch emigrants from Isla, 
who had wintered here, he recommended a new law 
to regulate juries, instead of an old expired one 
passed in 1699. 

The address gave him only general assurances of 
' a mature consideration of these points ; lamented 
the loss of the triennial act, repealed by the king ; 
and hinted that they would offer him one for sep- 
tennial assemblies. 

The small-pox raged at that time in the capital, 


and the country members, though the house sat at 
Greenwich, were very desirous of a recess. To 
procure this they consented to a provision for a few 
months, and bore the affront of messages from the 
council by their clerk ; but when they met again in 
August, they protested against the repetition of it, 
and from this period they have been invariably 
brought by one of the members of the council. 

It was not till this late day that the house was 
furnished with a set of the statutes, and the votes of 
the commons of England, which, with the acts of 
the other colonies, had been ordered by the assem- 
bly, whose journals, though more regular than for- 
merly, still discover many proofs of their ignorance 
of the usages of parliament.* 

Mr. Clarke renewed his former attempts at the 
next convention of the assembly, and to promote 
ship-building, (an art since carried to great perfec- 
tion,) advised the giving bounties with apprentices ; 
and at the same time gave them notice of governor 
Belcher's request, for the nominating commissioners 
to join with others, to be appointed by the assembly 
of Massachusetts Bay, in ascertaining the line of 
partition between the two provinces, which was 
repeated, during the session, by a letter from that 
governor of the 17th September, with a threat of 
carrying it out for themselves, if these instances 
were slighted ; — words which they fulfilled some 
years afterwards, to the great detriment of private 
property in this colony, and the waste of public 
money, and not without the effusion of blood. 

* See note A. 


The assembly's neglect to vote an address, their 
immediate attention to a militia bill, the call for 
accounts of expenditures and estimates of the new 
fortification;;;, were all unfavourable omens of the lieu- 
tenant-governor's disappoiniment. He discovered, 
also, by their votes, an extreme parsimony in the 
laws intended for the forts ; that but only one 
hundred pounds was allowed for the Irondequot 
purchase ; that the project for settling the Highland- 
ers at Wood Creek was disrelished, though pressed 
upon them by a pathetic petition from these poor 
strangers, for they had but five voices against post- 
poning the consideration of their affecting circum- 
stances. He saw another, for reducing his own 
salary; and that attempts were made to lessen the 
petty allowances received by the judges ; and, at 
last, they concurred in a resolution to support the 
credit of the paper emissions of 1714 and 1717, if 
their bill for continuing them with the excise did 
not pass into a law ; upon which he prorogued them 
for six days, and sharply reprehended their inat- 
tention to the great object of his wishes. After 
proposing the example of the British commons for 
their imitation, he adds, '*they have ever been jealous 
of the rights and liberties of the people, yet have 
always been zealous and forward to support the 
government that protects them. They give a gross 
sum for the support of government. They don't 
touch upon the application or disposition of it, that 
being the legal and known prerogative of the crown ; 
and the deficiencies are made good in the like 


Having observed that he had passed the militia 


bill before he prorogued them, they no sooner mad© 
a house again, on the 9th November, than they pro- 
tested against the omission of the council, who 
had neglected to notify their concurrence in that 
act, as inconsistent with the ancient practice of the 
good correspondence of the legislature ; but thought 
fit to send up with iheir favourite bill to continue 
the paper money and the excise duty, another, for 
the erection and repair of the forts, and a third 
providing for a revenue. But this last was only for 
one year, and nothing was as yet done towards the 
application of the money to be raised by it. To win 
upon their generosity, the sagacious politician, as 
soon as the council had passed the two first bills, 
convened both houses, and gave them his assent, 
saying, when he signed them according to our un- 
parliamentary practice,* *' I do this as the highest 
instance I can give of my care for the credit and 
welfare of the colony, and of the confidence I have 
in your honour." The council conspired with him, 
and immediately sent Mr. Horsmanden to acquaint 
them of their concurrence in the revenue bill ; and 
soon after the house voted a salary to the lieutenant- 
governor of thirteen hundred pounds ; and by the 
application bill, not only paid ofi* the arrears, but 
secured the officers for the ensuing year. To Mr. 
Horsmanden, who had been constituted the third 

* There is a clause in king William's charter to the Massachusetts Bay, 
'' That no laws, ordinances, elections, or acts of government, whatsoever, shall 
be of any validity without the consent of the kmg's governor, signified in wri- 
ting." And it is probable the usage commenced here, in consequence of an 
instruction. The clerk prepares his note at the foot of every bill — " I assent to 
this bill enacting the law, and order it to be enrolled."" This he reads with the 
title, and the governor eubscribes his name in the presence of the council and 


judge in 1737, they allowed seventy five pounds for 
his past services, and, in future, a salary of fifty 
pounds. The session ended on the 17th November. 
The inattention of this day to the emigrants from 
Scotland, was unpardonable. They were objects 
of compassion, and the measure of establi^^hing 
them upon the northern frontier, as they desired to 
be, was recommended by every motive of sound 
policy. There was no excuse for neglecting so fair 
an opportunity, not only of forming a barrier against 
the new encroachments of the French at Crown 
Point, but of encouraging other useful adventurers 
to follow their fortunes to a colony weakened by the 
removal of many in the late troubles. Colonel 
Morris, who was an active member of the assembly 
at that day, but not present at the rejection of a 
motion made by Mr. Livingston, for a gift of seven 
pounds to every one of the seventy Scotch families 
imported by captain Campbell, informed the author, 
that it was owing to a discovery that ihe lieutenant- 
governor and Mr. Colden, the surveyor-general, in- 
sisted upon their fees and a certain share of the lands; 
and that he could make no other apology for the 
public neglect of those unfortunate adventurers than 
an abhorrence of being duped by the self-interested 
motives of the public officers. Had that object been 
patronized by the legislature, we might have seen 
vast forests, between the waters of Hudson's river 
and the two northern lakes on the west, and the river 
Connecticut on the east, cultivated by a hardy and 
useful multitude, to the great augmentation of the 
commerce of the colony, and then have saved it from 
tempting the avarice of a neighbouring governor, 

iiisTuKY OF m:w-york. 6 


whose ill-founded claims, representations, and intru- 
sions have given rise to controversies and law-suits, 
injurious to private property, and destructive of the 
public tranquillity.* 

The Spanish war commencing soon afterwards, 
there was a short session in the summer of 1740, in 
which the assembly contributed money to accelerate 
the levies of several hundred men, under colonel 
Blakeney, for an expedition against the island of 
Cuba, and many of Campbell's followers, who were 
starving, through his inability and the public parsi- 
mony, enlisted for that service, and perished in the 
expedition afterwards directed against Carthagena. 

There was a hotter meeting in September, when 
Mr. Clarke pressed them to provide for further 
levies, towards the defence of Oswego ; a law to 
prevent desertion from the sea and land forces ; the 
repair of the chapel of the Mohawks, among whom 
Mr. Barclay had officiated with a small salary from 
the colony with some prospects of success ; and the 
revenue act being expired, he renewed his request 
for the ancient support. 

The assembly would not add to their late gift of 
two thousand five hundred pounds towards the 
expedition ; thought the British statutes gave suffi- 
cient relief against desertions : that the Indian fort, 
in the Mohawks' country, was sufficient for assem- 
bling all the christian converts of that tribe, and 
that, if they increased, a church ought to be built by 
private contributions. They then called upon the 
council for a committee to aid them in forming a 

* See note B. 



fee bill, and sent up another to limit the continuance 
of assemblies. 

The governor took no public notice of these 
transactions ; but when they had made provision for 
the war, according to the modern example, pro- 
rogued them. 

The attempt to regulate the fees of officers failed 
by the neglect of the committee vf the assembly to 
meet on the subject, but the septennial bilL passed 
by the lower house, was lost by the non-concurrence 
of the council. 

The lieutenant-governor could not avoid being 
displeased with the dependence created by the new 
mode of a yearly revenue, raised by one act, and the 
settlement and payment of salaries and debts by 
another ; especially as, at the last session, a division 
had been called on the question, whether instead of 
thirteen hundred pounds he should not be stinted 
to seven hundred and eighty pounds ; and for 
allowing nothing to the two puisne judges : and 
therefore, when he met them again, on the 15th of 
April, 1741, he addressed them in a long speech, in 
which he applauds their felicity excites them to 
gratitude, and charges them with the wanton abuse 
of prosperity in demanding a treasurer of their own, 
and then insisting that the revenue should pass into 
his instead of the receiver-general's hands, who had 
a salary out of the royal quit-rents, observes, that 
to rid themselves of the check of the auditor-gene- 
ral, an officer established in the reign of Charles II, 
the assembly, after the expiration of the revenue in 
1709, ( which had been before given without any 
application,) had refused to support the sfovernment, 


unless they had the appointment of the salaries, nor 
would provide for the auditor-general, wlio, from 
soon after the revolution, had a constant allowance. 
" Thus (to use his own words) fixing on themselves 
the dependence of the officers for whom they pro- 
vided, (for men are naturally servants to those who 
pay them.) they, in effect, subverted the constitution, 
assuming to themselves one undoubted and essen- 
tial branch of his majesty's preroirative." He then 
imputes their not returning to a just sense of their, 
duty to the late disorders, and recommends their 
re-adopting the parliamentary example — '*to remem- 
ber, as to this province, a jealousy, which (says he) 
for some years has obtained in England, that the 
plantations are not without thoughts of throwing off 
their dependence on the crown of Kngland. I hope 
and believe no man in this province has any such 
intention. But neither my ho[>esor belief will have 
the weight of your actions ; and as you have it in 
your power, so it is your duty and true interest, to 
do it effectually, by giving to his majesty such a 
revenue and in such a manner as will enable his 
majesty to pay his own officers and servants — where- 
by they will be reclaimed to their proper dependence 
— and such as the flourishing condition of the pro- 
vince will amply admit; which, from the great 
increase of trade and people, is well known to be 
vastly better than it was above forty years ago, and 
for many years before and after such a revenue as 
I speak of was given by the then assemblies ; at 
the same time that large sums of money were raised 
to pay detachments of the militia, which were sent 
to the frontiers for their defence in time of war." 

VOL. TI» — 9 


After hinting his apprehensions of a war with 
France, he advises the erection of batteries for the 
ordnance and stores lately supplied by the crown ; 
the support of Oswego, and presents to secure the 
Indian alliance ; and adds, " I have done my duty 
and discharged my conscience, in giving you this 
warning : do yours, and save your country from 
ruin. At j)rosent, if any part of the province should 
be invaded, and money absolutely necessary for any 
service be required, even in such an exigency I can- 
not, either with or without the advice of the council, 
draw for a penny, a circumstance well worth your 

He then proposed a more efficacious militia act; 
the appointment of an agent in England ; the erec- 
tion of new buildings in the rot^m of those lately 
burnt in the fort ; and a night watch, upon the sus- 
picion of a conspiracy among the slaves. 

A diversion of men's minds from their usual 
objects of attention to the negro plot, the governor's 
losses in the late conflagration, and the fresh in- 
stance of the bounty of the crown, seemed to favor 
Mr. Clarke's exertions at this juncture, for convert- 
ing the assembly to their ancient confidence in the 

It was at his instance the cannon and stores were 
increased : there had been no warlike supplies to 
the colony since the year 1708. Those now sent, 
were valued at six thousand seven hundred and 
seventy-three pounds, fifteen shillings and eight 
pence sterling. Their iron ordnance consisted of 
ninety-six guns, fifteen of which were 32-pounders, 
twenty-four 18-pounders, and twenty 12-pounders ; 
the rest were of various inferior sizes. 


The assembly could not avoid an argumentative 
address, for they were determined not to cede the 
advantages they had gained in the late patriotic 

They confess their gratitude to the crown for 
many favours, but balance the account by their ample 
and cheerful supports to it ; admit the confidence 
of their ancestors in the oflicers of government, but 
assert that it was forfeited by misapplications of the 
revenue, and that queen Anne, on that account, 
consented to their having a treasurer of their own. 
They appeal to his own knowledge, that the squan- 
dering of the public money gave rise to the two 
long bills for discharging the debts of the colony, 
and that the excise on strong liquors was a fund 
applied to, and which still stood mortgaged for, that 

They observe, that formerly the crown rents, and 
the casual revenue by forfeitures, contributed to the 
support of government, though this was now dis- 
continued. They boast of contributing beyond their 
neighbours ; that they provide fuel and lights for the 
troops posted here, and presents to the Indians ; 
allege that they have erected a large battery in the 
capital, and others elsewhere, and victualled five 
hundred volunteers for an expedition to the West 

They deny that wantonness of prosperity or the 
late division had any influence upon the modern 
scheme of annual supplies, or that any of the officers 
of the crown or public creditors have suffered by 
the change. 

They avail themselves of his consent, and that of 


Other governors, to bills making particular applica- 
tions of public money, and intimate that the lords of 
trade think the practice reasonnble. 

To the insinuation of a suspicion of a thirst in 
America to independency, they " vouch that not a 
single person in the colony has any such thoughts 
or desire; for (as they add) under what government 
can we be better protected, or our liberties and 
properties so well secured ?" 

They then declare their disinclination to pass any 
bill for supporting the government, till the present 
one is nearly expired, nor then, unless according to 
the late model. They promise an attention to what 
he recommended respecting the forts, Oswego, and 
the militia ; agree that an agent may be useful, if he 
is made totally dependent upon the assembly After 
lamenting the conflagration of the fort buildings, 
they give oblique insinuations that no provision will 
be made for the future residence of governors within 
the walls of the fort ; and after confessing the king's 
favour in the late gift, they ungraciously reflect upon 
the omission of powder, and indulge a degree of 
ridicule on the utility of such an ample supply of 
ordnance without it. 

Mr. Clarke did not forget to mention in his answer, 
that queen Anne's consent to their appointment of 
a treasurer, respected not the ordinary revenue, 
but sums raised for extraordinary uses ;* and he 
promised that justice should be done for any mis- 
application of the public money they could point 
out : adding, that though Mr. Horatio Walpole, the 

* See note C 


auditor-general, had a salary, yet fees were due to 
him for auditing the accounts of the revenue, which 
in other provin^*es were usually paid out of the 
money accounted for, as they had formerly been 
here ; and that he saw no reason why it should 
not be so in future Only two acts passed at this 
meeting, wliich continued to the 13th of June ; one, 
putting the fortifications in a respectable condition, 
and another for a military watch. 

The winter which ushered in this year, (ever 
since called the hard winter,) was distinguished by 
the sharpest frost, and the greatest quantity of snow, 
within the memory of the oldest inhabitant. The 
weather was intensely severe from the middle of 
November to the latter end of March. The snow, 
by repeated falls, was at length six feet above the 
surface of the earth ; and the Hudson river passable 
upon the ice, as low as the capital, within thirty 
miles from the open sea : cattle of all sorts perished 
by the want of fodder ; and the deer of the forests 
were either starved or taken, being unable to browse 
or escape through the depth of the snow. The poor, 
both in town and country, were distressed for food 
and fuel ; and, by the scarcity of these articles, the 
prices of almost every thing else was raised, and 
though since reduced, yet never so low as in the 
preceding year. When the frost relaxed, there was 
a continuation of the flight of wild pigeons from the 
southward, in greater flocks than was ever before 
known ; and what was still more singular, in the 
month of March, five or six weeks earlier than in 
more temperate seasons. These birds nestle in the 
northerly woods of the continent, and retire towards 


autumn to the southerly provinces. Their flesh m 
admired here, and being taken in nets in such 
plenty, greatly contribute to the relief of the poor. 
While nestling, the males and females resort alter- 
nately to the sah, meadows for food, and by turns 
brood over the eggs. The two sexes at this season 
are never taken together, though the flocks are 
innumerable, and sometimes miles in length. It is 
often asserted, and generally believed, that undi- 
gested rice has been found in their crops ; and 
because the pigeon is a bird of very swift wing, it 
is conjectured that they bring this food from the 
Carolinas ; and yet there certainly in the spring is 
no standing ripe rice in the fields. 

The conflagration of the chapel and buildings in 
the fort, on Wednesday the 18th of March, was at 
first imputed to accident, or the carelessness of an 
artificer employed in soldering one of the gutters of 
the main edifice, the residence of our governors. 
The roof, which was of shingles, had taken fire 
without observation, and the wind blew fresh from 
the south-east. The usual alertness of the inhabi- 
tants was checked by their dread of the explosion 
of the magazine, and the flames soon communicated 
to the chapel ; the barracks, and the secretary's 
office erected over the fort gate, were utterly 

Mr. Van Home, a militia ofiicer, who indulged a 
blind credulity that the fire was premeditated by the 
negroes, and who, for beating to arms, and putting 
up a night watch, was nicknamed Major Drum, 
propagated his own fears to others, and in a few 
davs afterwards the consternation was universal. 


A second fire broke out on the 25th, a third on the 
1st of April, and two on the 4th. Coals disposed 
for burning a haystack, were discovered on the 5th, 
and the day after, two other houses took fire ; and 
while the magistrates were convened for enquiring 
into suspicious words dropped by certain slaves, 
another house was in flames, and before that was 
extinguished, a blaze appeared from another build- 
ing, and a negro was discovered flying over fences 
from the spot. 

No man now doubted of the reality of a plot, but 
for what end was only conjecture. That a few 
slaves would hope to effect a massacre of their 
masters= or thus vindicate their liberties, was the 
height of absurdity : but the fears of the multitude 
led them to presume nothing else ; and perhaps that 
extravagance then gave birth to the proofs by which 
it was afterwards supposed to be incontestably 

When Mr. Clarke spoke to his assembly, on the 
15th of April, he ascribed the destruction of the fort 
to accident, in mending a gutter, and the rest of the 
fires to design. But no discovery was made, till 
the grand jury of the supreme court found a clue by 
the examination of a girl of the name of Mary Bur- 
ton, who was a bought servant to John Hughson, 
a shoemaker, and keeper of a low tavern in the west 
quarter of the town. 

Inhere had been a burglary committed in the 
house of Robert Hogg, on the 28th of February. 
The goods stolen were brought to Hughson's, and, 
as the girl said, by Wilson, a lad belonging to the 
Flamborough ship of war, and three negroes. They 


were received by another maid -servant of the house, 
who, with two of the negroes, were committed upon 
the accusation of Mary Burton I'he in<|uest pressed 
hard upon the witness concerning the transactions 
at that house, it being known that it was often 
frequented by n«^groes, who were served tht.'re with 
liquor. She confessed, after much im|)orlunity, that 
certain slaves cabaHed there in private, and had 
formed a conspiracy to set the town on fire ; but 
denied that any white person was present at either 
of the consultations for that purpose, except herscdf, 
Hughson, his wife, and the other maid- From this 
testim<)ny, which varied upon further examinations, 
the jails W(ire crowded with the acnused, amounting 
to twenty -one whites, and above one hundred and 
sixty slaves. 

The whole summer was spent in the prosecutions ; 
every new trial led to further accusations : a coinci- 
dence of slight circumstances, was magnified by 
the general terror into violent presumptions ; tales 
collected without doors, mingling with the proofs 
given at the bar, poisoned the minds of the jurors ; 
and the sanguinary spirit of the day suffered no 
check till Mary, the ca[)ital informer, bewildered by 
frequent examinations and suggestions, lost her first 
impressions, and began to touch characters, which 
malice itself did not dare to suspect. But before 
this, thirteen blacks were burnt at the stake, eighteen 
hanged, and seventy transported upon conditional 
pardons Hughson, his wife, and the maid, with 
one Ury, died at the gallows, and Hughson and a 
negro were gibbeted- 

Ury was capitally accused, not only as a conspi- 


rator, but for officiating as a Popish priest, upon an 
old law of the colony, passed at the instance of the 
earl of Bellamont, to drive the French missionaries 
out of the territories of our Indian allies ; and he 
was convicted on both indictments A letter from 
general Oglethorpe, the visionary Lycurgus of Geor- 
gia, to Mr. Clarke, of 16th of May, gave weight to 
the suspicions against this wretch. After the dis- 
covery that some Spanish catholic slaves, taken in 
certain late prizes, were accomplices in the plot, the 
letter contained the following passage : — " Some 
intelligence I had of a villanous design of a very- 
extraordinary nature, and it was very important, viz. 
that the Spaniards had employed emissaries to burn 
all the magazines and considerable towns in the 
English North America, thereby to prevent the 
subsisting of the great expedition and fleet in the 
West Indies ; and that for this purpose many priests 
were employed, who pretended to be physicians, 
dancing masters, and other such kinds of occupa- 
tions, and under that pretence to get admittance and 
confidence in families." Mr. Smith assisted, at the 
request of the government, on the trial against Ury, 
who asserted his innocence to the last ; and when 
the ferments of that hour had subsided, and an 
opinion prevailed that the conspiracy extended no 
farther than to create alarms, for committing thefts 
with more ease, the fate of this man was lamented 
by some and regretted by many, and the proceed- 
ings against him generally condemned as harsh, if 
not cruel and unjust There was no resisting the 
torrent of jealousy, when every man thought himself 
in danger from a foe in his own house. The infec- 

VOT<. IT. — 10 


tion seized the whole legislature, who were convened 
when these tragedies were acting in the court and 
the fields. The grand jurors presented a petition 
for severer laws against these unfortunate Africans ; 
and they had the thanks of the house for their zeal 
and vigour in the detection of a conspiracy to burn 
the town and murder the inhabitants, encouraged 
by their opportunities of assembling at taverns, and 
at the common reservoir of tea-water in the suburbs, 
and their indulgences on Sundays for sport and 

The old laws were thought not sufficiently severe, 
and yet this enslaved part of our species were under 
regulations demonstrative of the dangerous spirit of 
petty legislatures, even under all the sunshine of the 
benevolent and merciful doctrine of Christianity. 

Their children were made slaves, if such was the 
condition of the mother, by a law in 1706, which 
contained no provision in their favour, even when 
they were the offspring of a lawful marriage ; so that 
it remained a question whether the father's slavery 
did not subject the legitimate issue of a free woman 
to servitude. They were witnesses in no case 
against a free man ; and by the act of 1 730, they 
were incapable of any contract, or the purchase of 
the minutest article necessary or convenient to the 
comfort of life. The power of the master in cor- 
recting them was dispunishable in all cases, not 
extending to life or limb. They were exposed to 
forty lashes, by the decree of a single magistrate, as 
often as three of them were found together, or any 
one walking with a club out of his master's ground 
without leave ; and two justices might inflict any 


punishment short of death and amputation, for a 
blow, or the smallest assault upon any christian or jew. 
Nay, their masters are punishable for pardoning or 
compounding for their faults, and all others for 
harboring or entertaining them, who when suspected 
are made subject to an oath of purgation. Every 
manumission of a slave is invalid, without security 
in two hundred pounds to indemnify the parish. 
They are subjected to the summary trial of but 
three justices and five freeholders, without a chal- 
lenge, even on accusations touching life ; and in the 
case of a negro, every homicide, conspiracy, or 
attempt to kill a freeman, unless in the execution of 
justice, or by misadvantage ; a rape, or an attempt 
to commit one ; the wilful burning of a dwelling- 
house, barn, stable, out-house, stacks of corn or hay; 
nay, or mayhem, if wilful, exposes to the punish- 
ment of death. 

Ought not humanity to revolt at these sanguinary 
institutions ? I should be chargeable with partiality 
if I did not add, that, like other immoderate laws, 
either neglected or working their own remedy, they 
are seldom executed ; negroes, when capitally im- 
peached, being often tried in the ordinary course of 
justice, and admitted to the rights and privileges of 
free subjects under like accusations. 

Mr. Clarke brought his assembly together again, 
and spoke to them, on the 17th September. General 
Went worth having called for fresh recruits to the 
army in the West Indies, the lieutenant-governor 
asked their aid for victualling them, and the repa- 
ration of the ruins in the fort. He renewed his 
demand for a srenerous and durable revenue, as what 


the king expected, and the expected governor would 
insist upon, and what he thought it their interest, as 
well as duty, to grant ; concluding with the remark, 
that as this would be his last speech, these instances 
could flow from no selfish motives, which weak minds 
might ascribe to them. 

The members firmly attached to the new and po- 
pular mode, soon after presented him with a long, 
harsh, ill-penned address, expressing great exultation 
on the prospect of Mr. Clinton's arrival, and their 
hope that he would bring with him the expected 
military stores, with presents for the Indians. They 
intimate, that the quit-rent fund ought to contribute 
to the erection of a new house for the governor ; 
testify their disinclination to give money for the 
levies, till they are actually raised ; refer him to 
their former address for an answer to his last speech, 
on the subject of the revenue ; adding now, as a 
reply to what dropped from him in words after it 
was delivered, that the revenue, properly considered, 
was a term only applicable to the quit-rents and other 
dues to the crown, and that these then did, and 
always had, passed to the hands of the receiver- 
general, and that since they had ceased to be applied 
to the support of government, the assembly had not 
demanded any accounts of their amount. Then, to 
prove an assertion in their former address, they 
observed, that though a thousand pounds were given 
at the beginning of the last French war, for building 
batteries at the Narrows, not a single stone was 
ever laid out towards that work ; whereas the late 
erection of forts showed the propriety of giving the 
trust to commissioners of their own appointing. 

lIlSTOltY OF NEW-YOKK. 77 ' 

They remind him that, under the old form, the public 
creditors were sometimes obliged to sell their war- 
rants at a discount, through the delay of payment, 
of which there had been no instance under the 
modern regulations. Towards the close, they assert 
their right to apply what they raise, and obliquely 
hint that he is of the same opinion, but indirectly 
influenced by the auditor-general : and to the gover- 
nor's general remark, that other colonies paid fees 
to Mr. Walpole, they oppose his own letter to Mr. 
Belcher, the late governor of Massachusetts, assert- 
ing that he had received nothing from New England; 
and thence, because Massachusetts is a considerable 
colony, they conclude (and certainly secundum artem) 
that he has not received any allowances from the 
other of our neighbouring colonies. 

Mr Clarke indulged his resentment in an unusual 
manner, for when the speaker had read the address, 
he gave them no other answ^er than a bow, on which 
they retired, not without some dii^appointment ; and 
he afterwards communicated several matters, by an 
irregular method he had before practised, in a letter 
to their speaker, instead of a message to the House. 

After the two obnoxious bills for continuing and 
applying the revenue for a year, w^ere brought in, 
Mr. David Jones carried a resolve bv fourteen votes 
against eleven, for postponing them till others more 
beneficial for the inhabitants in general were passed 
into laws. Mr. Clarke, upon sight of their entry, 
prorogued them for two days. When they met, 
they instantly introduced the lost bills ; but soon 
after, voted one thousand five hundred and sixty 
pounds to the expected srovernor, for a year from 


the day his commission should be published here ; 
continued all the old allowances ; voting at the same 
time fifty pounds to the lieutenant-governor, to re- 
imburse him for house-rent. 

As soon as the support bill, with several others, 
had reached the council and obtained their concur- 
rence, Mr. Clarke sent for the house, and gave them 
the efllcacy of laws. 

When the application bill was ordered to be 
engrossed, Mr. Jones renewed his late motion, but 
the house was not disposed to countenance his bold- 
ness ; and the lieutenant-governor, on the 27th 
November, passed it, with several others, and the 
house was adjourned till the month of March. 

One of the most important acts of this session, 

was that for introducing the English practice of 

balloting for jurors. Mr. Clarke had formerly 

recommended it, and for that reason it was not 

forwarded till now. It had been passed by the 

council, but Mr. Jones brought the draft, that it 

might originate in the lower House ; and when it 

was committed, proposed to oblige the quakers of 

Queens county, which he then represented, to serve 

as jurymen ; but he could prevail upon none but his 

colleague Mr. Cornet, and another member, to join 

in his motion.* 

This gentleman came into public service with the 

patriots of the new assembly, in 1737, and the 

favorable opinion of his constituents, by his firm 

adherence to the project of an annual support. He 

was therefore returned again in 1739, and then 

became acquainted with Mr. Clarkson, who wa? 

* Spc nnfp D. 


chosen one of the city members ; and these two, 
with colonel Morris the younger, who was a little in 
the shade for his compliances to Mr. Clarke, were 
the leading members of the house. 

The lieutenant-governor, trusting to his own 
abilities, and by the first dissolution, had piqued the 
pride of chief justice Delancey, who, discerning the 
advantages of popularity, not only for the better 
securing his salary, for which he now became 
dependent upon the assembly, but to be revenged 
upon the lieutenant-governor, and gain an influence 
upon his successors, and, with a view perhaps to the 
succession itself, studied to recommend himself to 
the house, and now, by the intervention of Mr. 
Clarkson, began an intimacy with Mr. Jones, of 
which he made a good use, and it continued to the 
end of his life. 

In the two late sessions, therefore, Mr. Clarke had 
little or no assistance from his council, where Delan- 
cey kept the majority cool, himself privately abetting 
the opposition of the lower house. 

In consequence of this conversion and new alliance, 
the house was now led to serve Mr. Horsmanden, 
(who often held the pen for Delancey,) by a bill to 
give him two hundred and fifty pounds for a digest 
of the laws of the colony : and before the adjourn- 
ment, both houses concurred in a joint address to 
the king, imploring his royal aid towards repairing 
the colony loss by the late fire ; a measure from 
which they expected to derive no other advantage 
than, by declarations of their poverty, to obviate 
any bad consequences from Mr. Clarke's represen- 
tation, either of the asperity of their addresses, or 


their disregard to the great ends he had assiduously 
laboured to accomplish, for the advancement of the 
authority and influence of the crown.* 

When the proposal for compiling the laws was 
taken into consideration, the house had discovered 
what they seem to have been ignorant of, when they 
presented Mr. Clarke with the long address of 24th 
April, 1741, for in that they applaud the revolution, 
as restoring to the colony the benefit of assemblies ; 
but, as they now perceived, in setting a rule to Mr. 
Horsmanden for executing his work, that they had 
assemblies before that happy sera, and that there 
were some unfavorable acts of those days still in 
force, they not only authorised him to begin in 1691, 
but hastily gave leave to Mr. Justice Philipse, who 
had also enlisted with the chief justice on the popular 
side, to bring in a bill, declaring all acts and ordi- 
nances passed before that period null and void. It 
was then already prepared ; but whether from the 
advanced state of the session, or the improbability 
of its success in so well-informed an administration, 
or the prudence of not stirring the old embers, and 
the hope that the new edition would help to conceal 
what they wished to annul, this bill was never taken 
up after the first reading. Of the digesting act, 
Mr. Horsmanden took no advantage, hoping greater 
gain by compiling the proceedings against the late 
conspirators, under the title of the History of the 
Negro Plot : he left the digest to be executed by 
other hands, w^hich was done in 1751. 

* It was concealed in the copy of the entries of the day transmitted to Mr. 
Clarke, under the pretext of decency to the king, and transmitted, not by him 
+n the secretary of state, but in a private letter to jMr. Clinton, the new n-overnor. 


Mr. Clarke's glory being in the wane, and the 
assembly looking out for the rising of a new sun, 
they took the unprecedented liberty, at their next 
meeting, on the 16th of March, 1742, to request a 
further adjournment. He gratified them till the 
20th April ; and two days afterwards, insisted upon 
their repair of the town and fort ; payment for the 
transportation of ordnance to the interior frontier ; 
the rearing new buildings for the governor's resi- 
dence ; the victualling and transporting recruits to 
general Wentworth ; the support of agents in the 
Indian country, and the amendment of the militia law. 

They gave him no answer, but in a few days 
appropriated a small sum for repairing fortifications, 
and forwarding the volunteers to the West Indies ; 
and when the act for this purpose was passed, with 
another, regulating the payment of quit-rents and 
land partitions, they adjourned, and did not meet 
again upon business till the 13th of October, when 
he renewed his request for a permanent revenue, a 
new act for the support of Oswego, and the con- 
veyance of twenty more recruits to the West Indian 

Except an act for securing Oswego, little was 
done but to provide the ordinary supplies and 
salaries for the year ; and they separated before the 
expiration of that month. 

He repeated his requests on the 21st April, 1743, 
and urged their supplying the magazines with 
ammunition, ball, and other necessary stores ; with 
which they were piqued, as Mr. Clinton, at their 
private instance, had asked for them in England, 
and did not succeed. 

VOL. TT. — 11 





With a sullen disregard of the speech, they 
hastened to a close of the session ; and after the 
passing three bills, neither of extensive or permanent 
utility, they took their leave of each other, and never 
met again, except for further adjournments, till Mr. 
Clinton arrived. 

Though Mr. Clarke had several children, they 
made no connexions in the colony. After previous 
dispositions, he returned in 1745 to England to 
possess a handsome estate in Cheshire, purchased 
with his American acquisitions. He was taken 
prisoner on the passage, but found means on his 
arrival, to procure a parliamentary donation superior 
to his losses both by the fire and his captivity. By 
his offices of secretary, clerk of the council, coun- 
sellor, and lieutenant-governor, he had every 
advantage of inserting his own, or the name of 


some other person in trust for him, in the numerous 
grants, which he was in a condition, for near half a 
century, to quicken or retard ; and his estate, when 
he left us, by the rise of his lands and the population 
of the colony, was estimated at one hundred thou- 
sand pounds. 

His lady, who was a Hyde, a woman of fine 
accomplishments, and a distant relation of that 
branch of the family so highly distinguished by the 
famous lord chancellor Clarendon, died at New- 
York ; but Mr. Clarke survived her to about the 
year 1761, having lived in the affluence he acquired 
in America, and leaving the world at a very advanced 

Mr. Clinton was the son of the late earl of Lincoln, 
and uncle to the then earl, who had not long before 
united himself to the Newcastle family, by his 
marriage with Mr. Pelham's daughter. The gover- 
nor had spent his life in the navy ; and preferring 
ease and good cheer to the restless activity of 
ambition, there wanted nothing to engage the 
interest of his powerful patrons in his favour, than to 
humour a simple-hearted man, who had no ill-nature, 
nor sought any thing more than a genteel frugality 
and common civility, while he was mending his 
fortunes, till his friends could recall him, and with 
justice to their own characters and interests, to 
some indolent and more lucrative station. 

He arrived, with Mrs. Clinton, a lady of a cha- 
racter very different from his own, and several young 
children, on Thursday, the 22d September, 1743. 

His commission was published the same day, and 
people qf all ranks, in his progress to the town hall 

84 HlaiTURV OF iNEW-\URK. 

for that purpose, testified a vociferous joy. He 
soon learned that the assembly were under an 
adjournment to meet in a few days, and that the 
multitude would be pleased with an opportunity for 
a new choice of assemblymen. The first act of his 
administration was a dissolution of the house, on 
the 27th of September, and writs were the same 
day made out for convening another. 

While the chiefs of the country were feasting 
with, and recommending themselves to, the new 
governor, the elections were conducted without 
tumult, and with the change of not more than seven 
members. Mr. Clarke had displeased the principal 
zealots of the two parties, which took their rise in 
Cosby's administration; Van Dam was superan- 
nuated; Alexander and Smith engrossed by their pri- 
vate concerns, and immersed in the labours of their 
profession. Delancey falling in with the spirit they 
had raised, as most favourable to his resentment 
against Mr. Clarke, and being in some favour with 
the leaders of the last assembly, had his eye turned 
to the governor; and thus the multitude were left 
to that torpor which generally prevails when they 
are uninfluenced by the arts and intrigues of the 
restless and designing sons of ambition. 

The session opened on the 8th of November, 
and continued only to the 17th of December. They 
gave the governor a salary of fifteen hundred and 
sixty pounds, one hundred pounds for his house-rent, 
four hundred pounds for fuel and candle-light to 
himself and the garrison of the independent compa- 
nies, one hundred and fifty pounds to enable him to 
visit the Indians, eiffht hundred pounds to make 


presents to those tribes, and one thousand more for 
the unsuccessful solicitations of the king's aid, at 
their instance, towards rebuilding the Fort, and 
obtaining a supply of ammunition. They continued 
the salary of three hundred pounds to the Chief 
Justice ; and now, without opposition, voted one 
hundred pounds a year to Mr. Justice Philipse; half 
that sum to Mr. Horsmanden, the third Judge ; and, 
on motion of Mr. Morris, began the practice of 
enabling the governor and council to draw upon 
their treasurer for contingent services, now limited 
to sixty pounds, but afterwards increased to one 
hundred pounds per annum. The governor, in 
return, assented to all the bills that were offered 
him, without any objection to those limiting the 
support to a year ; another for septennial assemblies; 
and a third, which, by giving a remedy for the 
recovery of legacies at common law, according to 
the project of the anti-Cosbyan patriots, gratified 
the general disgust raised in the late heats against 
the authority of the court of chancery ; the business 
of which was, by this act, considered as somewhat 

In this session, the house adjudged that personal 
residence was not requisite to qualify a member, 
and therefore admitted Mr. Ludlow to a seat for 
the county of Orange, though his dwelling was at 
New- York. And it is also worthy of remark, that 
they applauded the practice of dissolving the as- 
sembly upon appointment of a governor in chief, 
informing Mr. Clinton in their address, that the 
first instance to the contrary gave rise to discontents, 
and that the last had furnished a srreat handle to the 
late divisions. 


On the prospect of a rebellion in Scotland, the 
lords justices despatched orders for military prepa- 
rations, which occasioned a call of the assembly in 
April, 1744, and the governor's renewal of his 
importunity for a supply of the magazine, rebuilding 
the fort, appointing agents, attending to Oswego, 
strengthening the hands of the commissioners for 
Indian affairs, and for guarding those allies against 
the intrigues of the French. 

Both houses strove to outvie each other in this 
alarm ; and a joint address was immediately pre- 
sented, to testify their abhorrence of the Scottish 
rebellion and a Popish Pretender ; large sums were 
given for the fortifications ; three thousand pounds 
voted towards a mansion-house for the governor : 
and the arrears due to Mr. Barclay, the Mohawk 
missionary, paid off. After which the house ad- 
journed to July, when the war having been declared, 
and the Indians visited by the governor, he called 
upon them for further expenditures on the northern 
frontier, not only for adding to the works, but to 
co-operate with commissioners from Massachusetts 
Bay, in cultivating a more firm and extensive alliance 
with the savages of the wilderness. He recom- 
mended also the fitting out armed vessels to guard 
the coast, and made his third request to them for 
constituting agents at the British court. He backed 
his speech with a message, more particularly to 
explain his general requisitions ; and very properly 
proposed the construction of a fort, at the joint 
expense of this and the eastern colonies, in the 
neighbourhood of Crown Point, and another at 
Irondequot, or near it, at a common cliarge, to secure 


the fidelity of the Senecas, the strongest and most 
wavering of all the six confederated tribes. He 
was still more importunate on these subjects after 
the flight of the Indian traders from Oswego upon 
the news of a declaration of war ; and added his 
demands for the support of certain prisoners brought 
in by the privateers. 

The house, perceiving the insufficiency of their 
duties upon commerce to raise a competent fund for 
the public exigencies, and that it was expedient to 
lessen that income and encourage privateering, by 
exempting prize goods from all impost, proceeded 
with some hesitation, being disinclined to that ge- 
neral taxation to which they would be obliged to 
submit, and foreseeing their own animosities in the 
assessing of the county quotas for a partition of the 

At this juncture, the council, to quicken their 
motions, requested, by Doctor Golden and Mr. 
Murray, a free conference, to which they assented. 
Mr. Delancey opened it, and urged the necessity of 
strengthening the garrison of Oswego, lately de- 
serted by the traders ; and they were brought to join 
in an address, imploring the governor to send a 
detachment of fifty men to that fortress, for whom 
the lower house immediately voted a supply ; and 
agreeing to give a sum for the support of the pri- 
soners in the colony, they addressed the governor, 
complimenting him on his vigilance and clemency, 
and entreated that he would find means to send 
them away. 

When they had provided the ordinary yearly sup- 
port, and for many other expenses, and were desirous 


of a recess, Mr. Clinton, observing that no provision 
was made for the general Indian alliance proposed 
by the Massachusetts Bay assembly, entreated their 
attention to it as a great and important object, much 
urged by governor Shirley^in a late letter ; but their 
generosity being exhausted, or their fears excited, 
they resolved it to be imprudent to engage in the 
scheme, without a previous plan of it ; and they 
were sent home on the 21st of September. 

The French attempt upon Annapolis having roused 
the eastern colonies to the bold design, which they 
accomplished in the year 1745, by the reduction 
of Louisburgh ; Mr. Clinton, animated by Mr. 
Shirley's example, sent them ten pieces of field 
ordnance, with the necessary warlike implements, 
and in March solicited the assembly to co-operate in 
that enterprise. He took the same opportunity to 
press the equipment of a guard-ship for the defence 
of the coast ; the appointment of agents ; the con- 
struction of more inland forts ; further presents to 
the Indians; money to defray the march and 
transportation of the detachments and supplies to 
Oswego ; liberal sums for contingent expenses ; 
further aid for supporting prisoners ;, provision to 
enable him to send commissioners to join with 
others in a general treaty with the Indian nations ; 
and a union with the rest of the colonies, both of 
force and councils, agreeably to a royal instruction 
continued from the revolution to this day.* 

The assembly, conscious of their neglect of his 
recommendation for constituting an agent, took the 

^ See note E. 


repetition unkindly. They had, on that account, 
been much censured without doore, a bill having 
been brought into parliament for preventing the 
colony paper money from being a legal tender, and 
to prevent which no steps had been taken, though it 
was known here before their last rising. But the 
other colonies awakened the popular attention, and 
compelled the city members and several merchants 
to join with the council, in the recess of the house, to 
co-operate in the necessary remonstrances to the 
commons of Great Britain for postponing the bill. 

They had not then, as they now asserted, given 
any more than the title of it, and consequently knew 
nothing of the scope of its last two clauses, which 
alarmed all the colonies with apprehensions of a 
design to overturn the liberties of the plantations, 
by compelling our legislators to obey all the orders 
and instructions of the crown. 

One of the first objects, therefore, of their present 
attention, was a report upon these transactions ; 
thanks to the managers of them ; the reimburse- 
ment of the money sent to Messrs. Samuel and 
William Baker of London, who had been charged 
with the opposition to the bill offered to the com- 
mons, and the approbation of the objections urged 
against its passing into a law. 

In this ill humour they presented no address 
and, though Mr. Clinton sent them the papers^ 
necessary for their information concerning the 
eastern expedition, with a copy of the instruction 
referred to in his speech on the 14th of March, they 
continued for several days inattentive to it ; slighted 

VOL. IT. 12 


his opinions concerning additional fortifications ; 
ordered tlie city members to inquire for and consult 
some engineer ; intimated a design to lessen the 
garrison of Oswego ; declined the project of a 
guard ship ; rejected that for appointing joint com- 
missioners to treat with the Indians for mutual 
defence ; voted but three thousand pounds to the 
New England expedition ; resolved to appoint no 
agents at present, and declined the provision of pre- 
sents for the Indians. 

Expecting nothing from them in this temper, 
he convened both houses before him on the 13th 
May, passed three bills sent up to him by the council, 
and dissolved the assembly, delivering a speech at 
the same time, in which he not only expresses his 
own resentment with insinuation of the receipt of 
personal incivilities, but endeavours to render them 
odious to their constituents. 

The late sudden dissolution had very little influ- 
ence upon the minds of the community at large, for 
nearly the same members were returned ; but it 
influenced the new house, for, in answer to the 
governor's speech of the 25th of June, they presented 
an address promising attention and despatch, and 
testifying their persuasion, that he had the king's 
service, and the welfare of the colony, sincerely at 
heart, and promising their assistance in cultivating 
harmony between the several branches of the legis- 
lature, for the great ends they all had in view. 

What he had proposed was the erection of several 
batteries in the capital, more forts on the frontiers 
and aid of ships, men, and provisions, to the New 
England enterprise upon Louisburgh, which pro- 


mised success by the capture of one of the batteries 
and a ship of 64 guns. 

Mr. Jones, who had long acquired the reputation 
of an economist, was now placed in the chair. 

They immediately ordered in a bill to give five 
thousand pounds towards the Cape Breton expedi- 
tion, another for the necessary fortifications, and 
others for finishing the governor's house, presents 
for the Indians who were wavering and had lately 
made a visit to Canada. His desisfn for an immediate 
treaty with them was his apology for convening the 

They voted six hundred pounds in addition to four 
hundred pounds not yet expended, and he went 
immediately to the Indian treaty at Albany. After 
his return in autumn, he informed the house, by a 
message of 2d of November, that the French Indians 
had broken the neutrality and made incursions upon 
New England ; that he dreaded an attack upon this 
colony; that the Six Nations agreed to take a part in 
the war, and had his orders for action. They did 
not part before the governor's prediction was verified 
in the destruction of the scattered village of Saratoga, 
within forty miles from Albany. 

The party of French and Indians, from Crown 
Point, surprised those settlements on the night of 
the 16th of November, and burnt the fort and several 
other buildings, killed some of the inhabitants and 
carried others into captivity. The country being 
uncovered down to the very city of Albany, this 
event not only spread a general consternation among 
the northern settlers, who all fled from their habita- 
tions, but raised a gfeneral dissatisfaction. Mr. 


Clinton, indeed, was unblameable, having frequently 
endeavoured to excite the assemblies, and so had 
Mr. Clarke, to erect a fortress on the northern 
frontier ; but the censures of the multitude being 
loud and clamorous, the governor indulged more 
heat than prudence, and sent a message to the house 
respecting the tragedy at Saratoga, and threatened 
to draw out detachments of the militia, expressing 
himself in such sharp reproaches for their inattention 
to his former requisitions, as were not soon forgot. 
At present they suppressed their resentment, and 
entered a resolve, that they would, at all times, 
concur in every reasonable measure, not only for 
the defence of the province, but the assistance of 
their neighbours, in any well concerted plan con- 
sistent with her circumstances, to distress and 
attack the enemy ; adding, that this was and ever 
had been the firm purpose and unanimous resolution 
of the house. 

The session being nearly at an end, they passed 
votes of credit, offering rewards for scalps, the 
payment of scouting parties, the erection of redoubts, 
the transportation of detachments, provisions, and 
ammunition for the Indians. The rejection of Mr. 
Holland, who claimed a seat in the house, as member 
for the township of Schenectady, contributed not a 
little to the acrimony of the governor's message. 
Though he had a majority of electors, his petition 
was, at first, unreasonably postponed, and himself, 
at last, excluded (1st November) under the pretext 
of his wanting qualifications required by the town 
charter ; but, in truth, because he was a resident at 
New- York and a friend to the governor. Mr. Hoi- 


land lost nothing by this injury, for it procured him 
the mayoralty of the metropolis, and a place in the 

The bills providing salaries for the year, in which 
they continued the gift of twenty pounds made for 
several years past to Mr. Barclay, the missionary to 
the Mohawks, being passed with several other acts, 
the session terminated on the 29th of November. 

Importuned by colonel Philip Schuyler of Albany, 
whose brother was massacred in the late descent 
upon Saratoga, for a detachment of three hundred of 
the militia of the lower counties, and the rebuilding 
of the fort there, and by the commissioners for Indian 
affairs on other proposals for the security of the 
frontiers, and stimulated by letters from Doctor 
Golden and others, who gave alarms of attacks 
intended on the western side of Ulster county, as 
well as by the people of Massachusetts, for a con- 
federacy with the eastern colonies in a plan of 
general defence ; Mr. Clinton gave the assembly a 
recess only till the 20th of December, and then held 
up these objects to the attention of the house in a 
message, asking at the same time for some efficacious 
amendments to the militia act, and tartly taxing 
them with the neglect of the important particulars 
laid before them for the service and honour of the 

They asked leave to adjourn to the 7th of January 
1746, and before he consented, voted one hundred 
and fifty pounds for rebuilding Oswego. They 
concurred, at the next meeting, in amending the 
militia act ; prepared to fulfil their late engage- 
ments: called for a conference with the council 


respecting the New England confederacy ; voted 
the erection of a line of block-houses on the frontier, 
and for rangers to defend the western quarter of 
Ulster and Orange ; added to the fortifications in 
the capital ; resolved on a lottery, and a new emis- 
sion of ten thousand pounds in paper money, to be 
sunk by a tax.* 

They nevertheless made their advancements with 
disgust, and fell into quarrels with each other, 
dividing often upon the partition of the general 
burthen among their counties, and at length for 
several days met only to adjourn. The governor 
passed the bills that were ready for him, and pro- 
rogued the house for a few days. On re-assembling, 
on the 4th of March, the small-pox prevailing at 
Greenwich, where they had lately sat, they requested 
an adjournment to the second Tuesday in April, at 
some other place. Nothing could be more reason- 
able than a change of the place, whatever the 
objections might be as to the time. The answer 
was this : " Gentlemen, — My present indisposition 
prevents me from speaking to you in public. I most 
earnestly recommend to you to make ample provision, 
and that with the utmost despatch, for all those 
services I recommended to you the last session, 
and hitherto remain unprovided for." Upon which 
they resolved, that their speaker and five members 
have power to adjourn from day to day, but that 
not less than a majority transact any other business, 
and upon all questions the names of the members 

=^They would not confer with the council upon the bill for this emission' 
considerincr it as a money hiW. — Fide Journal,25th February^ 1746. 


be entered and published in the journals ; and then 
they adjourned to the evening of the next day. 

Mr. Clinton called his council together in the 
interim, and sent a message consenting to their 
meeting on the 12th instant, at the borough of 
Westchester. They met there, and first voted a 
request to meet at Brooklyn on Long-Island, but 
rescinded it the same day, and desired to return 
to New-York ; and remaining inactive for several 
days, the governor, with the advice of the council, 
preferred Brooklyn to the capital, where the small- 
pox prevailed, and ordered them to adjourn thither 

Sixteen days had now elapsed to no other purpose 
than incurring the ridicule of the wits^ and sharpen- 
i n spirits before sufficiently disquieted ; and as 
soon as the house met at Brooklyn, on the 20th of 
March, they appointed a committee to answer a re- 
presentation, which the council had presented to the 
governor, on the late refusal of the house to confer 
with them on the bill to emit ten thousand pounds 
of paper money. 

The governor now opened their business by a 
message, demanding provision for constructing six 
new block-houses on the northern frontier ; the 
punctual payment of their militia garrisons, and 
twenty-five men to be posted in two others at Sche- 
nectady ; notified them that the Six Nations had 
refused to act in the war ; urged an alliance with 
the New-England colonies, to lessen the expense 
of repurchasing the aid of the six cantons ; insisted 
upon more money to strengthen the hands of the 
'Commissioners, pro re nata ; demanded a further 


aid of provisions for the Oswego garrison ; a quota 
of men to garrison Louisburgh, till others arrived 
from England ; and to ingratiate himself w^ith the 
people without doors, concluded with declaring, that 
" the enemy cannot be more industrious for the ruin 
of the colony, than he could be careful to preserve it 
in the quiet possession of his majesty's subjects." 

After this, they called a conference with the coun- 
cil for nominating commissioners to treat with the 
other colonies, and agreed to recommend to the 
governor, Messrs. Philip Livingston, Horsmanden, 
and Murray, of the upper house, and Mr. Verplanck 
and Mr. NicoU, of the lower house. They desired 
the governor to inform them whether he had any 
objection to the emission of paper money ; but to 
this he gave the proper answer, that " when the bill 
came to him he would declare his opinion." 

They proceeded then to votes for the services that 
were recommended, and increased the emission 
bill to thirteen thousand pounds, and projected a 

To lessen the expense, they proposed to the coun- 
cil a joint address to the governor, for his posting at 
Schenectady sixty men of the independent compa- 
nies in the pay of the crown ; and about the same 
time, Mr. Clinton stimulated them again for their 
quota to maintain the garrison at Louisburgh, where 
an attack was expected ; and for an allowance to 
captain Armstrong, an engineer, sent over at his 
instance by the crown, to plan the intended fortifica- 
tions. The first of these they immediately refused, 
assigning for their excuse, the exposed and weak 
state of the colony. 


On the 3d of May, he gave them a recess for a 
month; and then passing the lottery bill, to raise 
three thousand three hundred and seventy-five 
pounds for fortifying the city of New- York ; another 
for the like purposes in other parts of the colony ; 
a third for a military watch in the county of Albany ; 
another authorizing commissioners to take affidavits 
in the country to be used in the supreme court ; and 
that for issuing thirteen thousand pounds in bills of 
credit to be sunk by a three years^ tax ; the annual 
levies of which, here subjoined, show the compara- 
tive opulence of the counties at that time : — 

New-York, £ 1,444 8 11 

Albany, 622 3 9^ 

Kings, 254 18 0^ 

Queens, 487 9 5i 

Suffolk, 433 6 8 

Richmond, 131 6 3i 

Westchester, 240 14 8i 

Ulster, > 393 18 9i 

Orange, 144 8 10^ 

Dutchess, 180 11 li 

£4,331 10 8 

To guard the reader, unacquainted with the petty 
cabals of a distant colony, and who may be deluded 
by the seeming precision of these quotas, it is proper 
to add, that the members for the metropolis always 
complain of the intrigues of the country gentlemen, 
in loading their city with a third part of the public 
burdens, for the ease of their own counties ; and that 
but for the fear of losing their bills in the council, 

VOT.. TT. — 13 

yft HISTORY or NEW-YORlv. 

which is generally composed of citizens of influence, 
a still greater share would fall upon that small island 
forming the city and county of New-York. 

In the recess, Mr. Clinton found it necessary to 
add three hundred of the militia to the one hundred 
and twenty in the block-houses, and those thirty 
posted at Saratoga : this occasioned fresh demands 
upon the assembly, to which they readily complied, 
with an augmentation of one hundred and fifty more, 
besides fifty Indians : and, three days after the first 
message, the governor informed them of the desig- 
nation of this aid, by another, brought to Brooklyn 
by Mr. Banyer, deputy clerk of the council ; and 
the same day opened a new and extensive scene, in 
a speech, acquainting them that the duke of New- 
castle, in a letter of the 9th of April, had signified 
his majesty's pleasure to set forward an expedition 
against Canada, commanding levies in all the colo- 
nies for that purpose ; that every company should 
consist of one hundred men, to be raised from New- 
York to Virginia, inclusive, in one corps, under Mr. 
Gooch, the governor of Virginia, as brigadier-gene- 
ral, and the whole force to be as great as could be 
collected before the time of their march. 

The project was Mr. Shirley's: it was commu- 
nicated in a letter of the 13th of January, and ap- 
proved by our assembly on the 25th of February, 
They were to be joined by regular troops from 

This intelligence was received with the greatest 
exultation by the general mass of the people. The 
assembly therefore expressed themselves that very 
day with all the ardour of patriotic zeal : — '< The 


moment vve leave your excellency," said they, " we 
shall employ our hearts and our hands to the great 
work before us, and come to such resolutions as 
shall immediately forward the important design ; 
and the whole course of our proceedings shall be 
conducted with such unanimity and effectual des- 
patch, as may add to the pleasing hopes of a happy 
success, and prove us fully sensible of our duty, 
loyalty, and gratitude to his majesty, our regard to 
the ease, welfare, and security of those we represent, 
and of that just resentment that should animate us 
in opposing the perfidy and cruelty of the most 
dangerous enemy. 

Bounties were raised for volunteers, and for the 
purchase of provisions and ammunition; exportations 
of provisions prevented ; the Indians called to a 
meeting; the other colonies excited to join in col- 
lecting presents to conciliate their aid ; artificers 
impressed for public works ; part of the militia de- 
tached ; a forty thousand pound tax imposed, to 
sink that amount, now supplied by a new emission 
of paper money ; thanks given to the king for for- 
warding an enterprise so necessary to us, and for 
advancing the trade of the empire in general. 

They hesitated about nothing necessary to give 
it success, except furnishing provisions for the In- 
dians, unless the neighboring colonies would bear a 
part of the expenses ; and any contribution for the 
transportation of stores, for which they refused to 
advance money to the crown, even upon loan, con- 
ceiving that it ought to be raised by bills of exchange, 
a hint which Mr. Clinton improved greatly to his 
own emolument. They separated on the 15th of 


July, and the governor, in a few days after, went to 
the Indian treaty at Albany. 

He could prevail upon none of the council to 
attend him, except Doctor Golden, Mr. Livingston, 
and Mr. Rutherford. From Mr. Delancey, by whom 
his measures had formerly been directed, he was to 
expect no aid. They had quarrelled in their cups, 
and set each other at defiance. The governor then 
gave his confidence to Mr. Golden. The chief 
justice, inflated by his popular influence, the rise of 
Sir Peter Warren, his brother-in-law, and the patro- 
nage of Dr. Herring, formerly his tutor and now his 
correspondent, in the elevated station of archbishop 
of Ganterbury, and, by Mr. Glinton's incaution, ren- 
dered independent by a renewal of his commission 
during good behaviour — in other words, for life — had 
begun in the course of last winter, to domineer over 
the governor, who, on a certain occasion, expressed, 
with some tartness, his resolution to maintain the 
dignity of his station. The altercations ran so 
high, that Mr. Delancey left the table with an oath 
of revenge, and they became thenceforth irrecon- 
cilable foes. 

The governor left no stone unturned to procure 
a numerous assembly of the Indians. The interpre- 
ter had exerted himself for that purpose among the 
more distant tribes, while Mr. Johnson,* at his 
request, practised upon the Mohawks in his neigh- 

* This gentleman owed his elevation from the obscurity of a solitary resi- 
dence in the wilderness to the incidents of this period. He was a nephew to 
Captain, afterwards Sir Peter Warren, and until his ambition was fanned by the 
party feuds between Clinton and Delancey, aspired no higher than to the life of 
a genteel farmer in the vicinity of fort Hunter, surrounded by the Mohawks. 
When colonel Philip Schuyler (who was the son of the celebrated Peter,> held the 


bourhood. The day the governor arrived, he was pre- 
sented with two French scalps, taken near Crown 
Point ; and the 8th of August, Mr. Johnson, to whom 
Mr. Clinton had given the rank of colonel, entered 
the town at the head of Mohawks, painted and dres- 
sed in thei^ manner. The governor being indis- 
posed at the opening of the conference, it was left to 
Mr. Colden to deliver a speech of his own drafting ; 
and in his excuse for the absence of Mr. Clinton, he 
describes himself to the Indians as the next person 
in the administration, for lieutenant-governor Clarke 
having gone to England, he was then the eldest 
member of the Council. He reminded them of the 
antiquity of the covenant chain, and that one intent 
of the present interview was to confirm it. He 
informed them of the French attack upon Annapolis 
Royal, of the reduction of Louisburg, in resentment 
for that injury, of the subsequent incursions of the 
enemy, and of their promises of assistance; rebuked 
their inactivity; revealed the design to attack Canada 
on this side, by troops from this and the western 
colonies, while those to the eastward, with the navy, 
ascended the St. Lawrence. For exciting the sava- 
ges to co-operate with us, and raise and spread their 
fame among all the Indian nations, he calls to their 
remembrance the ancient insults their fathers had 
received from the French at Onondaga, Cadaracqui, 

affection of the Six Nations, he indiscreetly attached himself to Delancey. A door 
was then opened to Mr. Johnson, who became a favourite of Chnton's, and im- 
proved his advantages, as the sequel will show, to the acquisition of honor and 
power, and such avast estate of the crown lands, as cannot fail to support the 
hereditary dignity of an English baronet, to which he arrived in the course of a 
few years, in consequence of his celebrated victory over baron Dieskau and the 
French troops at lake George, in 1755. 


and in the Seneca country, applauds the prowess 
of their ancestors in the invasion of Montreal, in- 
veighs against their listening to the seducing wiles 
of the French priests, and then requests their joining 
with us in the grand enterprise of driving all the 
French out of the country, as essential to their and 
our safety. 

These addresses were, after the Indian manner, 
divided into short paragraphs, and belts of wampum 
given for memorials. A Sachem, on the delivery of 
every belt, turning to each tribe, uttered the word, 
"yo-hay," do you hear? They answered, and when 
the war-belt was given, there was a general shout. 

Mr. Clinton appeared the next day, and an Onon- 
daga orator replied for all the nations. 

They promised to hold fast the ancient silver 
chain ; engaged, from the bottom of their hearts, to 
make use of the hatchet against the French and 
their children, (meaning their Indian allies) ; threw 
down a war-belt as a testimony of their union, and 
recommended unanimity among all the colonies. 
They denied that the French priests lulled them 
asleep, declared their abhorrence of them, and that 
the remembrance of the cruelties of the French 
made their blood boil. They gave assurance, that 
they would send in their warriors, with some from 
the Missisagacs, a nation of five castles and eight 
hundred men, between the lakes Erie and Huron, 
who were represented by their delegates then 

The presents from the crown, Virginia, and Mas- 
sachusetts bay, were afterwards distributed. The 
governor left it to the Six Nations to ffive a share 


to the Missisagacs ; intimated his discovery, that 
certain of their warriors, being in Canada when 
the tidings of the reduction of Louisburg arrived, 
had joined the French for the defence of Quebec. 
He promised arms, clothing, and ammunition, to such 
as would now go out in the British service. 

After they had delivered the presents, they hung 
on the war-kettle, painted themselves as in their 
wars, and danced till late at night. They performed 
this singly, in a low motion, to a plaintive tune. 

One of the Missisagacs' deputies died at Albany 
of the smali-pox ; and, towards the last stage of his 
disease, requested the governor, that the first French 
scalp taken in the war might be sent to his mother; 
and, this promised, he without reluctance resigned 
himself to death. 

Mr. Clinton, about the same time, convened and 
spoke to the Mohendars, under which name are com- 
prehended all the other savages near this part of the 
sea coast, and on the banks of the rivers Hudson, 
Connecticut, Delaware, and the Susquehanna ; to 
these also, a set of dastardly tribes, he gave 
presents for promises which they never meant to 

There were, soon after this congress, such insi- 
nuations of the scantiness of the governor's gifts, 
whether true or false cannot be determined, that he 
thought it requisite, in vindication of his character, to 
publish an account of the treaty and transactions : it 
was written by Mr. Colden ; but, though it evinces 
the propriety of the speeches to draw the Indians 
into the war, it contained no list of the articles 
actually distributed among the savages, and wanting 


this proof, the scandal was rather confirmed than 
refuted by that incautious publication. 

Meeting his assembly again in October, the go- 
vernor, now guided by Mr. Golden, set the public 
wheels in motion in an unusual manner: being indis- 
posed, he sent for the speaker, and, through him, 
laid a copy of his speech before the house. They 
pronounced this mode irregular and unprecedented; 
but, to prevent delay, went into the consideration of 
the business recommended. 

The speech complains of the difficulty he had to 
engage the savages to go out into this war; ascribes 
the ill temper of the Indians to neglect or misconduct 
in the management of their affairs, and the inefficacy 
of the design, to Mr. Gooch's declining the service, 
the non-arrival of the fleet, and the news of the Brest 
squadron's hovering on the coast of Nova Scotia with 
many land forces. Having given orders for a winter 
camp in the north, and the erection of more small 
forts, the governor demanded further supplies for 
those purposes, as well as the management of Indian 
affairs. He reprobates all parsimony as real prodi- 
gality at this juncture. His persuasions to harmony 
excited to discord. He hinted that distrusts were 
often aggravated by artful designing men : and in- 
sisted that every branch of the legislature should 
act within its own limits, according to the model of 
the British constitution, adding, at the close, " that 
when unhappy differences have arisen in our mother 
country, from an imprudent or wanton stretch of 
power in any one of the parts of government, a cure 
has been attempted by throwing an over-measure 
of that power into some other part, by which the 


balance between the several parts of government has 
been destroyed. The care became worse than the 
disease, whereby confusion and calamity always en- 
sued, till the balance was again restored. I am told 
that something of the like nature has more than once 
happened in this government. Let us, then, guard 
against such mischiefs, and let us resolve to show by 
our actions as well as by our words, that we under- 
stand and love the English constitution, and thereby 
convince each other of the sincerity of our intentions 
for the good of our country ; and then, I make 
no doubt, all of us shall enjoy the pleasures which 
necessarily arise from the good effects of such a 

The assembly voted six thousand five hundred 
pounds for victualling the troops in their winter 
quarters, and two hundred more to transport the 
provisions to Albany ; but would not provide, in 
future, for the militia detachments of May and June. 
The governor, to whom the address was presented, 
took the hint, that they did not mean to pay for the 
land-carriage from Albany; and, therefore, insisted 
that this expense should be provided for. The 
volunteers amounted to thirteen hundred and eighty 
men. He said there were one hundred and eighty 
men without their bounty money, and requested 
blankets both for them and part of the king's inde- 
pendent companies, who were to join the little army 
on the northern frontier. 

The flame soon broke out. The assembly turned 
their attention to the civil list ; for the year voted 
only the deficient bounty money, and ordered a re- 
presentation to be drawn up in answer to the gover° 

VOL. IT,---! 4 


iior's speech and message, and a bill to be brought 
in to raise two thousand two hundred and fifty pounds 
by lottery, towards erecting a college.* 

On Wednesday, the 24th of October, they ad- 
journed, without leave, to Friday, then to Monday, 
and the day after received, approved, engrossed, and 
sent to the governor a representation reported by 
colonel Philipse, colonel Morris, colonel Schuyler, 
Mr. David Clarkson, and Mr. Henry Cruger. 

\t is to be observed, that while this instrument was 
preparing, advice arrived from Albany, that Henry 
Holland, the sheriff of that county, by order of 
colonel Roberts,* had broke into the commissioners' 
storehouses, and taken out the provisions entrusted 
to their care for the use of the army. 

The representation of the assembly, after declar- 
ing their ignorance of the bad disposition of the 
Indians and the authors of it, sullenly observed, that 
they last year provided for his voyage to a treaty with 
them, and that he and those he employed can best 
tell what service it had answered. 

They professed their willingness to inquire into the 
neglect or misconduct of the Indian affairs, and for 
that end, they asked for the correspondence upon this 
subject between him and others since his arrival. 

They disapproved of his winter camp, intimating 
their apprehensions that deaths and desertions, 

- 23d October 1746. 

t An ofl&cer of one of the independent companies, now raised by Mr. Clinton to 
the rank of colonel in the intended expedition. He had been a cornet of horse 
at the accession of George I. and was connected, by his first marriage, to the 
earl of Halifax. His second wife was a daughter of that Mr. Harrison who had 
so deep a share in the feuds of Cosby and Van Dam. 


through the severity of the weather, would frustrate 
the king's design of any expedition to Canada the 
next year. 

They boasted of further contributions to it than 
the king expected, and then alleged that they are at 
a loss to discover the meaning of his dissuading from 
parsimony, a term not so much as once mentioned in 
their house. 

They are surprised at his opinion, that the legis- 
lature are not in perfect harmony. They are apprised 
of the necessity of it ; think themselves capable of 
guarding against the private views of artful aYid de- 
signing men, and would be sorry any such should 
prevail on him to disturb the harmony necessary to 
the general preservation ; that if any by persuasion 
excited his distrust of the legislature at this juncture, 
they affirm that they are not friends to the country, 
but men of sinister views. 

They confessed that differences have formerly 
happened, but they were thought to arise rather 
from bad advice to governors, than wantonness in 
the people, and ought to serve as land-marks to 
avoid the like evils. They affirm, that upon the 
communication of the duke of Newcastle's letter, 
they provided for victualling the troops, and gave 
eight pounds bounty, with a blanket, to each vo- 
lunteer, and never intended their commissioners 
should deliver out the subsistence at Albany ; that 
the circumstances of the colony (of which they were 
the most competent judges) would not admit of any 
further step, and beyond this they meant not to go. 

The governor who, when Mr. Gooch declined 
his appointment, acted in his stead in the direction 


of the troops intended for Canada, had, before he 
left Albany, ordered the commissioners to deliver 
out provisions to the four independent companies 
destined with others to the carrying place above 
Saratoga, on the route to the French fort at Crown 
Point. Colonel Roberts had the command to re- 
quire an unlimited quantity of provisions for the 
whole party, and to surmount the refusal of the 
commissioners, gave an order on Mr. Holland to 
impress provisions for fourteen hundred men for 
two months. It has been before observed, that a 
law wds passed authorizing the impress of artificers ; 
it extended to horses, wagons, and other things 
necessary for the success of the expedition, and 
Mr. Clinton had left a warrant with Holland, the 
sheriff, for carrying it into execution. Provisions 
had been demanded for one hundred and thirty men 
more than were in service, and three companies had 
already drawn out their quota. 

The house considered the governor, therefore, as 
in the scheme of forcing the transportation, the 
expense of which they had refused to defray, and 
the rather because doctor Colden, when at Albany, 
had insisted upon it, menacing the commissioners 
if they did not comply. 

Hence the clamours in the country, the prognosti- 
cations in the governor's message, and the severities 
of the representation, though it was four days 
afterwards that the house resolved, that the gover- 
nor was ill advised in granting the warrant for 
the subsistence of the king's independent fusiliers; 
that the commissioners obeyed the law in refusing 
to comply with it ; that colonel Roberts' order was 


arbitrary and illegal ; that the breaking open the 
stores was a violation of the rights and liberties of 
the subject; and that Golden, Roberts, and Holland, 
were guilty of high crimes and misdemeanors ; and 
that it would be in vain to furnish provisions for 
subsisting the forces in the expedition against 
Canada until assurances were given that an effec- 
tual stop should be put to such proceedings; and 
an order was made for requesting the governor's 
command to the attorney-general to prosecute the 

Mr. Clinton's message of the lOih of November, 
in answer to the representation of the fifth, contri- 
buted nothing to the extinguishment of these 
discontents Displeased with the commissioners 
of Indian affairs, he charges the untowardness of 
the savages upon them, as traders with them; 
promises to give orders to the secretary for that 
business to prepare copies of the correspondence ; 
expresses high disapprobation at the public testi- 
mony of their dissatisfaction with his winter camp, 
as countenancing a contempt of orders, and the 
printing it without waiting for his answer; and 
threatens to complain to the king of the difficulties 
he had passed through in the last six months ; and, 
with respect to the resolves of the 8th, he observes, 
in another message of the 24th, for the vindication 
of his own measures, and to wipe off aspersions 
upon others, that the troops at Albany, by concert 
between himself, Mr. Shirley, and Mr. Warren, 
were destined against Canada ; that he added to 
them a part of the independent companies ; that 
the new levies, which they had agreed to supply 


with provisions, were at first sixteen hundred men, 
exclusive of commission officers ; that these, by 
desertions and disease, were reduced to fourteen 
hundred, including the officers ; that he could not 
imagine it disagreeable to them that he supplied 
the defect of two hundred out of the independent 
companies ; that when he issued the orders to 
march, he sent major Clarke to the commissioners 
with assurances that, if the assembly disapproved 
of the supplies, he would replace the quantum ; 
that the form of the warrants they complained of 
are settled in council ; that he authorized doctor 
Colden's request to the commissioners for trans- 
porting and delivering out the provisions to the 
captains, and on their objecting, to engage payment 
for the expense of the carriage, and that if they 
refused this, to intimate his intention to appoint 
other commissioners ; that Mr. Golden reported their 
consent, and Mr. Cuyler, one of them, confirmed it. 
He then refers them to the minutes of a council of 
war, held at Albany by colonel Roberts, colonel 
Marshal, major Clarke, and major Rutherford, on the 
16th October, at which colonel Roberts presided, 
showing that after Mr. Clinton left Albany, Mr. Cuy- 
ler refused to transport the provisions, assigning the 
want of money as his reason, or to appoint a com- 
missary to deliver them out, if they were transported 
by the army; nor would he deliver them at Albany to 
any commissioner or quarter-master, though colonel 
Roberts promised to be accountable, and to produce 
the captains' receipts, insisting, that the letter of 
the act required the commissioners to deliver them 
only to the captains. 


That the council then considering that the cap- 
tains could not find separate storehouses on the 
frontiers, nor could their services in scouting parties 
enable them to preserve the provisions from waste, he 
advised colonel Roberts to impress their provisions, 
give a receipt for them, appoint a commissary to be 
recommended by the commissioners to issue them 
out ; and that such conduct was, in their opinion, not 
inconsistent with the intent of the act of assembly, 
and that, without it, the expedition for guarding the 
frontiers would be neglected. 

The governor added, that he thought himself in the 
line of his duty in ordering the march ; the council 
right in their advice from the great law of necessity, 
and that neither Roberts nor Holland were to blame ; 
that he could not therefore give any orders for pro- 
secuting them. 

He promised to assist in the discovery of embez- 
zlements, if any there had been, and for obtaining 
justice to be done to the colony, and that the provi- 
sions impressed should be accounted for. He urged 
them to change the commissioners for others less in- 
clined to embarrass the service, obliquely impeaches 
them for deficiencies of rum ; and, after censuring 
their freedoms with persons in his and doctor Col- 
den's stations, remarks that their resolves deserve 
their most serious consideration. 

The house resolved this answer unsatisfactory ; 
that whoever advised or endeavoured to create jea- 
lousies and encourage a breach of the laws were 
enemies to the constitution ; that they would grant 
no more supplies while such notorious abuses were 
committed; but that upon proper assurances of 


redress, they would grant further aids for the sub- 
sistence of the troops. 

The governor, alarmed, asked for the sustenance 
of the troops, agreeable to their engagements, pro- 
mising that what had been experienced should not 
happen again, and that exact accounts of the con- 
sumption should be kept and laid before them ; and 
to divert their attention from the last object, made 
new requisitions to pay for female scalps ; smiths 
among the Senecas and Onondagas ; arrearages for 
provisions at Oswego, and the repairs of the fort at 
Albany. But, unwilling to prolong the session, they 
postponed these considerations, and were prorogued 
on the 6th of December, when thirteen acts received 
the governor's assent. Care was taken to prevent 
desertions from the army, to raise the taxes, to 
maintain a military watch in Albany, to keep up the 
militia, to provide winter subsistence for the troops, 
support the civil list for a year, and raise two thousand 
two hundred and fifty pounds by lottery for founding 
a college, a project early in the eye of the patrons 
of the public school, formerly trusted to the care of 
Mr. Malcolm, favoured by the pupils of that institu- 
tion now rising to manhood, and forced by a general 
spirit of emulation on discovering the sundry ad- 
vantages our youth had acquired by an academical 
education in Great Britain and Ireland, but chiefly 
at the neighbouring colleges of New England. 

The author observed in the first records of the 
colony of New-Haven, vulgarly called the blue laws,* 
that this was an object of the very first adventurers 
in that country, long before their charter, uniting 

* See note F. 


that and the Hartford colony, was obtained. The 
inhabitants of New-Haven (to whose honour be it 
mentioned) raised a large sum to begin the institu- 
tion within five or six years from the date of their 
Indian purchase of that town, then called Quinipiack. 
It was from this seminary that many of the western 
churches in New- York and New-Jersey were after- 
wards furnished with their English clergymen. Mr. 
Smith, who was a tutor and declined the rector's 
chair in Yale college, vacant by the removal of Dr. 
Cutler, was the first lay character of it belonging to 
the colony of New- York. Their numbers multiplied 
some years afterwards, and especially when, at his 
instance, Mr. Philip Livingston, the second pro- 
prietor of the manor of that name, encouraged 
that academy by sending several of his sons to it for 
their education. 

To the disgrace of our first planters, who beyond 
comparison surpassed their eastern neighbours in 
opulence, Mr. Delancey, a graduate of the university 
of Cambridge, and Mr. Smith, were, for many years, 
the only academics in this province, except such as 
were in holy orders ; and so late as the period we 
are now examining, the author did not recollect 
above thirteen more, the youngest of whom had his 
bachelor's degree at the age of seventeen, but two 
months before the passing of the above law, the first 
towards erecting a college in this colony, though at 
the distance of above one hundred and twenty years 
after its discovery and the settlement of the capital 
by Dutch progenitors from Amsterdam. 

* See note G. 
VOL. II. — 15 



The assembly being convened again in the spring 
of the next year, Mr. Clinton, in his speech of the 
25th of March, observed, that the late provision for 
the levies extended only to May 1st ; that he had 
secured the Six Nations v^^ithout any charge to the 
colony, and had hopes of drawing some of the re- 
mote savages into an alliance, and for this purpose 
he required supplies to be distributed in presents ; 
that, agreeable to a concert with Mr. Shirley, two 
forts were intended to be erected at the portage on 
the route to Crown Point, to favour the expedition to 
Canada, for which the king's orders were daily ex- 
pected; that no money being sent from England, and 
the council of this colony and the commissioners 
from the Massachusetts having proposed to pro- 
secute the expedition at the immediate expense of 
the colonies, in certain rates there stated, he impor- 
tuned them for their concurrence and proportion ; 
and by a message he also desired a provision for 
scouting parties to be kept up while the army went 
forward on the main design. 

Bent upon renewing the hostilities of the last ses- 
sion, they did not vote any address, and resolving not 
to recede from the declaration that they would not 
transport the provisions from Albany, they agreed to 
victual their levies for three months, and pay for one 
hundred scouts, and only to pay one hundred and 
fifty pounds for the expenses of his journey to the 
intended Indian convention. 

The enemy were, at that time, ravaging the fron- 
tiers and practising most merciless acts of cruelty. 
The house, to make a handle of a pathetic petition 
presented to them, and for embarrassing and calum- 

lU.STOHY OF m:vv-yuiu\. 115 

niating the governor, asked one hundred men out of 
the little army destined to Canada for scouring the 
woods, offering every private a shilling per day be- 
yond the pay of the crown, and introducing it with 
a recital, that the levies were victualled at a very 
great expense, and had been hitherto unemployed ; 
and to raise the popular outcry the higher, they be- 
sought him to pass the bill providing for the hundred 
rangers to which the council had consented eight 
days before, intimating that they would then do 
nothing more, and desiring a recess. 

The governor thought himself compelled, for his 
vindication, to inform them, that when last at Al- 
bany he could not engage a man to range the woods 
under the wages of three shillings per day, with pro- 
visions besides ; that their offer of one shilling was, 
therefore, no motive for their acting in that service, 
and if they agreed to it, the house had made no pro- 
vision for their officers ; that he had engaged the Six 
Nations at the sole expense of the crown, who also 
bore all the other charges of the army except provi- 
sions; that parties of Indians and the new levies had 
been employed in divers excursions ; that when the 
expedition to Canada was laid aside for the year, he 
ordered a camp to be fortified at the carrying place, 
that from thence they might intercept parties from 
Crown Point, and by collecting magazines there, 
forward the intended services of the present year 
against Canada; that this design was obstructed by 
the late obstacles respecting the issuing provisions, 
till the frost compelled them to winter at Saratoga; 
that he had posted a part of the army in the Mohawks' 
countrv, others at and beyond Schenectady, three 


companies at Scliaghticoke, four at Half Moon, two 
at Niskyuna, and others at Albany, leaving a force 
at Saratoga — " so that there were garrisons in aline 
from east to west, across the northern frontier, in 
every place where they could be placed in safety 
during the winter season ;" there were other places 
where forts ought to have been erected, but that he 
could not put that charge upon the crown, they them- 
selves not thinking them necessary for their own 
safety; that to keep the enemy at home, he had sent 
out parties of the Mohawks against their borders ; 
that his project of a fort at the carrying place was 
approved of by Mr. Shirley, and some of the neigh- 
boring colonies were willing to contribute to it, if 
the assembly of this colony would set the exam- 
ple, and when he urged their concurrence, he had 
avoided all ground for fresh controversy. 

He proceeds then to complain of their declining 
every necessary expense for the common security, 
and of their disrespectful behaviour which obliged 
him, as he says, " from that common justice which 
every man owes to himself, to speak out some things 
which otherwise I should have thought proper to 
conceal." That the principal traders and richest men 
in Albany do not wish well to an expedition against 
Canada, from an attachment to a trade with that 
country, engrossed by a few, and which he had 
effectually obstructed." 

* The keenness of this insinuation will escape the reader's attention, unless 
he recollects the representation drawn up by Mr. Colden and others, in governor 
Burnet's administration, against a petition promoted by Mr. Delancey's father, 
who derived great advantages by the Indian trade through lake Champlain, and 
was, therefore, in opposition to the new trading house at Osweco. 


To this he ascribes his difficulties with the Indians, 
and a message from the governor of Canada per- 
suading the savages to a neutrality, and promising 
from his pity of their brethren at Albany to turn his 
Indians on their most inveterate enemies of New 

He then reminds them, that before the late negro 
plot information was given of popish emissaries, 
and that he suspects them among us, working upon 
men of wrong heads, violent passions, and desperate 
fortunes, as had been the case in the late Scotch 

He shows the danger of false insinuations to raise 
jealousies among the people of their rulers and go- 
vernors ; asks, with what truth it can be said the 
new levies have been hitherto unemployed, and sug- 
gestions publicly hinted of his neglect of duty ; and 
promises an answer to their request for a recess, when 
he knows their resolution to take care of the colony. 

They formed themselves into a committee of the 
whole house, and agreed upon another representa- 
tion. To give them time to cool, he adjourned them 
from the 2d to the 19th of May, but with what suc- 
cess the reader will determine, after he reads the 
following abstract of the long answer of seven folio 
pages and a half in print, then reported by a com- 
mittee consisting of Messrs. David Clarkson, Cor- 
nelius Van Home, Paul Richard, Henry Cruger, 
Federick Philipse, John Thomas, Lewis Morris, 
David Pierson, and William Nicoll. It was read, 
engrossed, and presented the same afternoon, with 
a request for leave to adjourn. 
They disown any intention to offend by the request 


for employing the new levies for rangers, to which 
they were excited by information that they were wil- 
ling to serve with an allowance beyond the king's 
pay of nine-pence or one shilling per day ; by asser- 
ting that they were unemployed, was only meant that 
they were not then on the expedition to Canada, and 
that they might have been on short scouts without 
any injury to the service ; that they were well appri- 
sed of the importance of the Indian alliance ; that, 
therefore, they had put one thousand pounds in his 
hands in 1745 for presents, though he had then 
money, before voted for that purpose ; that those 
Indians had, as yet, done nothing agreeable to their 
assurances of their engaging in the war if further 
depredations were made. 

That they consider the king's order to make pre- 
sents as an intimation that the charge ought not to 
fall on the colony ; that he went to Albany last sum- 
mer at their expense, but what he gave the Indians 
they know not ; that the crown was also, doubtless, 
at other great charges, which turned out to the pri- 
vate interest of some individuals. They think their 
loyalty very manifest since his arrival, and suppose 
him well convinced of it ; that he spoke well of the 
people in his first speech, but the change of his 
opinion obliged them to remind him that they gave 
him one thousand pounds as an earnest of their 
respect for him ; have raised as much for his support 
as for any of his predecessors, and built a noble 
edifice for his residence on his own plan, and paid 
his house-rent while the house was constructing. 

They recollect the burning of Saratoga, November 
1745, and hint, that if the independent companies 


had not been drawn from that post, this destruction 
would not have happened. 

That money was given for a fort at the carrying- 
place according to his own design, which was never- 
theless applied to re-building that at Saratoga ; that 
they contributed a part of the militia to garrison it ; 
that then a line of block-houses was recommended 
from New England to the Mohawks' castle ; they had 
provided for this scheme, and the money laid out in 
detachments of the militia posted by his order on the 
frontiers. They declared their willingness to contri- 
bute to two forts at the carrying place, and seem to 
doubt his declaration that any other colonies will 
bear a part of this burden. They declare, that no- 
body acquainted with the climate could be surprised 
at the disappointment of the attempt to fortify a camp 
at the time he fixed upon for that work. They assert, 
that the money raised for the expedition is nearly 
expended by the nine-pounds bounty per man, the 
victualling of sixteen companies, one hundred men 
each, and other military purposes. These they think 
proofs of their care for themselves, and do not 
forget their gift for the cape Breton expedition, with 
the further expense of transporting ten cannon, their 
carriages, fee. 

They conceived that their advancements have 
been unskilfully laid out, for want of an engineer, 
and lament the delay of the person expected. 

Respecting the scheme of commissioners for a 
joint prosecution of the war with the other colonies, 
they mention their having provided for it, and add: 
" how it has happened that nothing has been done 
upon that commission, is only to be conjectured." 


They censure the late negotiations at Albany, 
towards erecting two forts at the carrying place and 
attacking Crown Point, with the assistance of only 
three of the council, while there were six gentle- 
men in commission for that purpose, and no other 
government had commissioners there but Massa- 
chusetts bay. 

They declared that they had not confidence in 
the success of the expedition, and chose to wait till 
experienced officers, daily expected, arrived from 
England. They confessed, that ever since he had 
placed his confidence in a person obnoxious to and 
censured by that house, the public affairs had been 
perplexed, and not attended to with that steadiness 
and good conduct which their importance required, 
and did appear in the measures pursued before he 
bore so great a part in his councils. 

To him they imputed certain late speeches and 
messages, and the interruption of the public harmo- 
ny; denied that the traders of Albany wished ill to 
the Canada expedition, and charged the insinuation 
to the inveterate prejudices of his minister, who had 
grossly calumniated the distressed inhabitants of 
Albany, and abused his confidence. 

That part of his message descriptive of the prac- 
tices of Popish emissaries, they applied to another 
person then in his favor,* who was bred a protestant, 
resided several years in Canada, married a woman 
there of the Romish church, after having first 
abjured his religion, alleging that he was a person of 
desperate fortunes. To his intrigues and false- 

■'' John Henry Lidius, whose father was a Dutcli minister at Albany, 


hoods they imputed the unfavorable temper of the 
Indians, and to popish emissaries the perplexities 
of his administration. 

They then assert it to be reported, that two-thirds 
of the Indian presents in 1745 were embezzled ; 
and that the French and Spanish prisoners were 
sold, under colour of his authority, to owners and 
captains of flags of truce, at a pistole a head ; and 
these things they affect to mention as with a design 
to give him an opportunity to punish the delinquents. 

They hoped that, from the whole they have 
evinced, they have had a due care not only of their 
own, but his honour and interest. 

Mr. Clinton commanded an adjournment for a 
few days, and contented himself only with a threat 
of complaining to the king, and a remark, which 
every body else had made without doors, that this 
violent and acrimonious composition was not two 
hours before the house ; so that the engrossed copy 
sent to the governor, must have been prepared 
before the draft was brought in by the committee. 

It has been before observed, that this petty army, 
raised upon the duke of Newcastle's letter of the 
9th of April, 1746, was to be paid by the crown. 
Hitherto Mr. Clinton had drawn bills to raise money 
for that purpose ; and whether because the design 
seemed to be neglected at home, and he really 
apprehended the non-payment of his bills, or sought 
an occasion to embarrass the assembly, he gave 
them intimations that the troops threatened to 
disband for want of pay; and he exacted their 
indemnity of his estate against the protest of his 

VOL. IT. — 16 


bills, or their providing money to keep the army 

The projector of this device certainly could not 
reasonably hope to draw any other advantage from 
it, than a demonstration to government that Mr. 
Clinton's drafts, which already amounted to nine 
thousand pounds, and for which he had the advice 
of his council, were absolutely necessary, and that 
end it did serve, and that only ; for the house 
absolutely refused to counter-secure him, declaring 
that his drafts were necessary to prevent the total 
desertion of the levies, and that his refusal to 
continue drawing would imply distrust of the king, 
and render himself answerable for the lives and 
estates of his subjects. 

From the 4th of June, they only met and adjourned 
to the 4th day of August, when he called upon them 
to join with Massachusetts bay and Connecticut in 
the attack of Crown Point, aided by as many 
Indians, of whose temper he spoke favorably as to 
their being animated to action. 

But they laid hold of the objections, that as 
no estimate was found of the whole expense, nor 
the quotas of the respective colonies ascertained, 
they refused to concur till these preliminaries were 

Mr. Clinton continued his drafts for the armv, 
till the languor of administration exhausted his 
hopes of any co-operation from that side of the 
water; and on the 31st of August, when he flatly 
refused any longer to victual the four independent 
companies and southern levies, or to expend 
money upon the Indians, or transport provisions to 


Saratoga, he urged them to take those expenses 
upon themselves, for two months, till when he 
hoped to draw the other colonies into some 
contribution, and to be better informed of his 
majesty's intentions. He also notified them that 
Oswego was in danger ; colonel Johnson, the con- 
tractor for the supply of that garrison, requiring 
guards to convoy the provisions, a late incursion of 
the enemy upon the German flats in that route 
having doubled the expense of transportation. 

On which the house resolved, that the provisions 
of the independent companies ought not to be a 
charge either to the crown or the colony, while 
posted at Albany, they having always subsisted 
themselves out of their own pay, except when at 
Oswego or the outposts; when there, they were and 
should be supplied by the colony : that the southern 
colonies ought to subsist their own forces ; that 
having the king's orders to make advancement to 
cultivate the friendship of the Indians, it is his 
duty to continue them till the contrary be signified 
by the crown ; that his bills for transporting pro- 
visions to Saratoga being paid, that expense ought 
to be forborne ; that colonel Johnson cannot ask 
an additional allowance, the governor having in- 
formed them on the 2d of December, 1746, that the 
colonel had contracted against all events ; but to 
protect the county of Albany, they agreed to provide 
for one hundred and fifty rangers, to be formed in 
three companies, and kept up for fifty days. 

The prospect of the desertion of the fort of Sara- 
toga by the New- Jersey troops posted there, for 
want of provisions, however, filled every man with 


terror ; and after a call of the house, they requested 
the governor either to send a part of the New-York 
levies there, or, if his powers over them were deter- 
mined, a detachment from the independent fusiliers, 
for whom they in that case promised supplies of 

He repeated his declarations, that he would no 
longer disburse money at the charge of the crown ; 
and they, their instances for the preservation of 
Saratoga. Holding up the consequence of their 
refusal to secure the Indian interest, and guard the 
frontiers, the governor adds, "If you deny me the 
necessary supplies, all my endeavours must become 
ineffectual and fruitless : I must wash my own hands, 
and leave at your doors the blood of the innocent 
people that may be shed by a cruel and merciless 

On the 17th of September they were adjourned to 
the 22d ; only two bills being then passed, there was 
another adjournment to the 29th, and again to the 
5th of October. These provoked to a resolve, that 
to him were to be ascribed the delays in providing for 
the defence of the frontier ; and that a remonstrance 
be presented on the condition of the colony, to be 
prepared by Messrs. Clarkson, Van Home, Richard 
Cruger, Philipse, Thomas, Jones, and Cornel. 

Before the draft was reported, the governor, by a 
message of the 6th of October, laid before them a 
compact of their own commissioners with others 
from Massachusetts bay and Connecticut. 

These gentlemen had so concerted matters, as to 
cast the burden of maintaining the Indian alliance 
entirely upon the crown, though Mr. Clinton had 


importuned them to make that and the erection of 
forts subjects of contract. The message, therefore, 
warns them of the necessity of an immediate atten- 
tion to these objects, as well as those for which the 
contracting colonies were to provide ; and to show 
them the expectations of the Indians, he communi- 
cated a copy of the conferences he held with some 
of their chiefs on the 26th of September last, with 
colonel Johnson's report to a committee of the 
council on the 3d of October. 

This was soon followed with resolves to execute 
their part of the plan concerted by the commission- 
ers; to provide for the defence of the northern 
frontier, and for presents for the Indian sachems 
then in town ; that eight hundred pounds be devoted 
to supply the governor's failure to support the Indian 
interest, though he had made large drafts for that 
purpose, and of which they had heard of no disposi- 
tion ; that the usual provision be made for Oswego ; 
that they would bear their proportion of the expense 
towards erecting forts in the Indian cantons, as 
asylums to their wives and children, while their war- 
riors were abroad ; that they will take a part of the 
army for the security of the frontiers into pay, as soon 
as they are advised of their being discharged by the 
crown; that they would victual the garrison of Sara- 
toga, and transport the provisions wanted there ; and 
the messenger sent with a copy of these resolves, 
was also to request information whether any, and 
what number of troops was ordered to Saratoga. 

The answer of that day was so extraordinary, that 
the author cannot help transcribing it. 

" By your votes, I understand you are going upon 

126 HisTOKY OF m:vv-youk. 

things very foreign to what I recommended to you. 
I will receive nothing from you at this critical junc- 
ture, but what relates to the message I last sent you ; 
viz. by all means immediately to take the preserva- 
tion of your frontiers and the fidelity of the Indians 
into consideration. The loss of a day may have fatal 
consequences. When that is over, you may have 
time to go upon any other matters." 

They then resolved it to be their undoubted right 
to proceed in such order as they conceived most 
conducive to the interest of their constituents; that 
the attempt to prescribe to them, was a manifest 
breach of the rights and privileges of that house and 
of the people ; that the governor's declaration was 
irregular, unprecedented, and manifestly tended to 
the subversion of their rights, liberties, and privi- 
leges : and that his adviser had attempted to under- 
mine and infringe them, violate the liberties of the 
people, subvert the constitution of the colony, and 
was an enemy to its inhabitants. 

The next day, the 9th of October, Mr. Clarkson 
brought in the remonstrance, to which the house, 
immediately after reading it, ordered their speaker to 
set his name : they sent it to the governor that morn- 
ing by seven members,* who reported that he would 
neither hear it read, nor suffer it to be left with him. 
While they were in suspense upon the next step to 
be taken, he sent them a message on the 13th of 

That he was pleased with their approbation of the 
scheme concerted by the commissioners of the three 

'■^ Mr. Clarkscn, colonel Philipse, Mr. Thomas, Mr. Cruder, colonel Beekman 
<x»lonfl Chambers, and colonel I-ott. 


colonies, so nearly agreeing with that he had planned 
in October last, with governor Shirley and commo- 
dore Warren. 

That he was also pleased that his council, before 
the commissioners met, had approved of his proposal 
concerning the erection of two forts at the carrying 
place, and had made it an instruction to their com- 
missioners to effect it at the charge of the colonies. 

He observes, in an air of triumph, that when he 
had before urged these things, they were to have been 
executed at the expense of the crown ; and that now 
they became a colony charge, through the obstruc- 
tions he had met with by their clogs on the transpor- 
tation of provisions to the army. 

He then proceeds to refute the insinuation, that 
the money raised by his drafts for Indian expenses 
was not expended ; recounts the Indian services ; 
alleges that last year he could not get twenty of them 
on a scout, but that now colonel Johnson could 
collect a thousand of them for service ; that this 
gentleman had detached many of them from the 
French ; that their object in the denial of money for 
these services, was to wrest the prerogative of 
making treaties from the crown, and place it in the 
hands of popular agents of their own appointing. 
He accuses them also with a design to share in the 
military authority of the executive ; declares he w^iii 
not consent to it ; avers that Saratoga was burnt, and 
afterwards abandoned, by their negligence of his 
requisitions. He then attempts to justify his mes- 
sage to confine them to what he had recommended 
for the care and preservation of the colony ; calls 
their late votes to shut their door, a farce, unless it 


was designed to exclude his messages ; and if so, in 
that case he pronounced it a high insult on the king's 
authority, and the withdrawing their allegiance for a 

He denied their authority to act as an assembly, 
except by virtue of the royal commission and instruc- 
tions, alterable at the king's pleavsure. After which 
he thus expressed himself: You seem to place it 
upon the same foundation with the house of com- 
mons of Great Britain, and if I mistake not, by the 
resolves of the 9th of this month, assume all the pri- 
vileges and rights of the house of commons of Great 
Britain If so, you assume a right to be a branch of 
the legislature of the kingdom, and deny your depen- 
dence and subjection on the crown and parliament. If 
you have not the rights of the house of commons of 
Great Britain, then the giver of the authority, by 
which you act, has or can put bounds or limitations 
upon your rights and privileges, and alter them at 
pleasure, and has a power to restrain you when you 
endeavour to transgress. And I must now tell you, 
that I have his majesty's express commands not to 
suffer you to bring some matters into your house, or 
to debate upon them ; and for that reason, the cus- 
tom has been long established of the clerk of your 
house to show every day to the governor, the minutes 
of the proceedings of your house : and it is undutiful 
behaviour to keep any thing secret from me, that is 
under your consideration. In short, gentlemen, I 
must likewise tell you, that every branch of the legis- 
lature of this province, and all of them together, may 
be criminal in the eye of the law ; and there is a 
power able to punish you, and that will punish you, if 


you provoke that power to do it by your mis- 
behaviour, otherwise you must think yourselves 
independent of the crown of Great Britain." 

He then complained of the late method of serving 
him, by members, with copies of their resolutions, as 
ill-mannerly and unconstitutional ; and then adds — 
" This leads me to consider a most indiscreet beha- 
viour of some of the members of your house, who, in 
a quarter of an hour after I was served with a copy 
of your resolves of the 9th instant, came into an 
apartment of my house, where I was busy, and, with- 
out the least previous notice, one of them offered to 
read a large bundle of papers, which, he said, was a 
remonstrance from the house. Does not every pri- 
vate man in this country think his own house his 
castle ? And must your governor, when in his private 
apartment, be thus intruded upon ? Would any 
private man bear such behaviour in a stranger ; and 
must your governor bear it with patience ? I think, 
therefore, from such behaviour, without any other, I 
had too much reason to refuse to receive it, or to 
suffer it to be left with me : and from some past re- 
presentations which have been openly made by your 
house, I never will hereafter receive any thing from 
your house in public, the contents of which are not 
previously communicated to me in private, that I may 
judge whether it be necessary for his majesty's ser- 
vice and the public good, to give access to me for 
that purpose." 

He charged their omission to acquaint him of their 
first meeting, to design ; their resolves against his 
late adjournments and prorogations, as encroach- 

VOL. TI. — 17 


ments upon the prerogative ; — taxes them with 
unreasonable precipitation in adopting drafts of 
representations, as marks of their being led by a 
spirit of faction ; with an attempt to defame him, 
and with asserting known falsehoods. 

To oppose the malignant imputation of his em- 
bezzlement of the Indian presents, he states all his 
receipts at but eighteen hundred pounds currency ; 
and urges to show the reduction of it before the 
goods were delivered, the necessary expenditures 
for maintaining such vast numbers at Albany, private 
gifts to particular sachems, a sum to the Senecas for 
a release of their claim to Oswego, the transporta- 
tion of the Indians in wagons from and to Schenec- 
tady, and provisions for their return. 

He insisted that, if they had any suspicions of 
waste, they ought to have asked information, or 
complained to the king. 

He denied that they were moved by any zeal for 
their country in this attack ; remarks that, though 
they have put sixty thousand pounds into the hands 
of their relations and friends, no accounts are as 
yet exacted. 

He ascribed their attacks on his friends and 
assistants to malice ; and declares that he will with- 
draw the independent fusiliers from Albany, unless 
they will supply them with provisions as they do 
others ; desires them to reflect whether their con- 
duct is not owing either to a firm principle of 
disloyalty for delivering up the country to the king's 
enemies, or to support a neutrality with Canada, as 
in Queen Anne's reign, to the prejudice of the 
other colonies, or to overturn the constitution ; or, 


lastly, to gratify the malice of a few, known to have 
a share in their private consultations. 

He concluded with renewing his demands for 
securing the frontiers and the fidelity of the Indians; 
and, to prevent delays, informs them that he will not 
assent to any bill for issuing the public money, but 
as his commission and instructions direct^ or to 
limit or clog the prerogative respecting the disposi- 
tion of the troops. " If you make any thing," says 
he, " contrary to his majesty's commission or instruc- 
tions, a condition of your granting the necessary 
supplies for the safety of the people of this province, 
I now tell you, that it will be trifling with the lives 
and estates of your constituents, by exposing them, 
in this time of danger, without policy, for I never 
will yield to it." 

It was agreed by the commissioners, that gun- 
smiths should be sent to each of the six cantons, 
except the Mdhawks and Tuscaroras, with goods to 
the value of three hundred pounds, for presents ; 
and, as the season advanced, the assembly signified 
(15th October) to the governor, their willingness to 
advance the money on the credit of the confederate 
colonies, that he might forward this service before 
the winter. But he put them in mind the next day 
of other provisions equally urgent, especially as he 
informed them on the 19th, that the king had laid 
aside the expedition against Canada, and ordered 
the troops to be discharged, except such as were 
necessary for the defence of Nova Scotia ; and that, 
by his majesty's command, he was to recommend it 
to them to pay their own levies, and trust to a 
parliamentary reimbursement. 


The privates had been paid up by the governor 
to the 24th of July last, and two months' pay given 
to the subalterns. 

He renewed his desire for taking them, or a part 
of them, into the service of three colonies ; and 
they immediately voted to pay half of their levies, 
or eight hundred men, to the first of August, leaving 
it to the rest of the colonies to act at their pleasure ; 
but they declined the discharge of the arrears, 
assigning their poverty and distresses for their 
disappointment of the royal expectations. 

On the 24th of October, the governor thought 
proper, by a written order under his hand, to forbid 
James Parker, who usually printed the journals of 
the house, to publish the assembly's remonstrance, 
which provoked Mr. Clarkson to relate, and the 
rest of the committee to confirm, the history of what 
passed at the ofifer of it to the governor. That they 
knocked at the outward door, and told the servant 
who attended, that they had a message. That after 
retiring to an inner room, he came out, followed by 
a gentleman, and showed them into it, where they 
found the governor, who expressed no displeasure. 
They informed him that they came as a committee 
of the assembly with a remonstrance, and Mr. 
Clarkson offered to read it, which the governor 
would not permit, nor suffer it to be left ; on which 
they decently withdrew, Mr. Clinton only intimating, 
that this proceeding without the speaker was not 
parliamentary. Upon this, Parker was ordered to 
attend, and having produced the governor's prohibi- 
tion, a copy of which he had published in his 
gazette, they resolved that the attempt to prevent 


the publication of their proceedings, was a violation 
of the rights and liberties of the people, and an 
infringement of their privileges ; that the remon- 
strance was a regular proceeding ; that the gover- 
nor's order was unwarrantable, arbitrary, and illegal, 
a violation of their privileges, and of the liberty of 
the press, and tending to the utter subversion of all 
the rights and liberties of the colony ; and that the 
speaker's order for printing the remonstrance was 
regular, and consistent with his duty. 

That the reader may form his own judgment of it, 
we here give him a succinct analysis of its principal 

It professes their design to open to him the state 
of the colony. 

They conceive that his late messages reflect upon 
their conduct ; and that his prorogation of the 29th 
of September and adjournment of the 5th of Octo- 
ber, were designed to prevent their vindication of 
themselves. Bewailing the alteration of temper and 
sentiments in the several branches of the legislature, 
they proceed to its causes. 

Their proceedings discover that there was per- 
fect harmony on the 6th of June, 1746, when the 
king's pleasure for an expedition to Canada was 
announced — all conspired with one heart to promote 
the service, and his speeches and messages were 
clear, express, and intelligible ; but ever since he had 
put his confidence in the person who styles himself, 
" the next in administration," arts have been used 
to distract and divide. 

They esteemed his falling into the hands of a 
man so obnoxious, aiming at nothing but his own 


interest, a great misfortune to the country. To 
prove their suggestions, they proceed to a history 
of their late intercourse. 

On the 9th and lllh of September, they had 
importuned him to keep up a garrison at Saratoga, 
and agreed not only to supply but transport pro- 
visions to it. On the 16th, they voted for the 
preservation of Oswego, and to consider, (though 
he had taken all risks upon himself,) of colonel 
Johnson's demands for subsistence, if by unforeseen 
accidents he was likely to suffer. 

To the governor's assertion, that they were 
acquainted with the temper of the Indians before 
his treaty of last year, they answer with a denial 
of any such knowledge, on account of the secresy 
he had affected respecting Indian affairs, which he 
had diverted from their ancient channel by taking 
the business out of the hands of the commissioners, 
and to this they assign their present perplexity and 

They admit the reluctance of the Indians to 
engage in the war ; and, for removing aspersions, 
observe, that the Caghnuagas, in Canada, are re- 
lated to the Six Nations ; that they were, therefore, 
inclined to a neutrality, and the rather as they had 
declared, because their wars end only in extirpation; 
and they avow the opinion, that such a neutrality 
would have been most advantageous to the public. 

Against his boasting of their utility, they deny 
that there has been any conflict between ours and 
the French Indians, or that they had brought in 
more than three French scalps and some prisoners ; 
and impute his magnifying the late treaties, to a 


flesign to countenance his drafts on the crown for 
Indian presents, some of which drafts they suggest 
as being made the last summer, when no gifts were 
made, and that therefore he had a considerable sum 
in bank on that score. 

They dispute his professions of zeal for the 
welfare of the country ; charge the blood spilled at 
Saratoga in 1745, to his withdrawing the garrison 
from that post ; blame him for not ordering the new 
levies at Albany to go up and assist the farmers in 
the vicinity of that village to gather in their harvest ; 
calling in the troops from the frontiers to Albany, 
and then posting them on the opposite side of the 
river, where they could more easily desert ; for not 
sending out the one hundred and fifty rangers they 
had raised ; for injustice and unfairness in his 
agents, respecting the musters of the army : " a 
matter," as they assert, " worthy of the most strict 

They then charge him with contemptuous speeches 
both of them and their constituents, " from a very 
early time of his administration, in terms so oppro- 
brious as are not fit to be published ;" and, to vindi- 
cate themselves from the charge of neglecting the 
general interest of the colonies, they recite his 
requisitions, their compliances, and his obstacles to 
their further designs, by adjournments and proro- 

In the close, they aver that, since the war, the 
colony had expended near seventy thousand pounds; 
and as a caution against the advice of managing an 
assembly by harassing them with adjournments, 
they declare, " that no inconveniencies will divert 


them from, or induce them to abandon, the interests 
of their country." 

Mr. Clinton alarmed the house by a message, 
requiring supplies for detachments he purposed to 
make from the militia, for the defence of the fron- 
tiers. As nothing could be more disgusting to the 
multitude than a call to services of that kind, the 
house dreaded their rage, and the committee to whom 
the message was referred, reported their surprise at 
this requisition ; and, considering the intimation of 
the king's orders to discharge the army, and their 
late vote to take eight hundred men into pay, for the 
defence of the frontiers, declared their opinion, that 
whilst his excellency was governed by such unsteady 
councils, his messages were continually varying and 
ambiguously penned, and that they were embarrass- 
ed with difficulties in providing for the public safety. 

The governor, says the entry of the day, in the copy 
brought by their clerk, (for they did not, on this occa- 
sion, pursue their late practice of sending it by their 
members,^ and by another message of the 2d of 
November, reproaches them with refusing to give 
the king credit for the army's arrears of pay, till pro- 
vision could be made by parliament; and though 
they had voted to take eight hundred men of these 
levies into service, yet have you not, says he, by your 
speaker, communicated to me as terms of that vote, 
that there be a reduction of one half of the pay of the 
officers ; which no man deserving trust will accept, it 
being below the earnings of tradesmen and the wages 
of laborers ? Will any man be retained but on the 
footing on which he was enlisted ? Having no hope of 
engaging men upon these terms, he saw no way of 


saving the country without the aid of the militia ; and 
charged their affectation of surprise to a desire of 
exciting the disobedience of the militia. " And for 
what other purpose," says he, "are the reflections of 
unsteady councils, continually varying, Slc* thrown 
out at this time ? Certainly councils must vary, as the 
events on which they are founded do. You only 
have given occasion to any variation in my councils." 
In the reply, they confess that he had proposed to 
retain both officers and privates in the British pay : 
that on the speaker's objecting as to the officers, the 
governor then expressed doubts of their success, but 
promised that he would do all he could for the service 
of the colony, when he had fixed, with Mr. Shirley 
and Mr. Knowles, a time for the dismission of the 
army. They therefore repeat their surprise at the 
requisition for supplies to detachments of the militia, 
before the result of his consultations respecting the 
day of general discharge was published ; and think 
this a justification of their late answer of instability, 
and a proof ** that it was neither his intention nor 
inclination that these forces should be received into 
the pay of the colony, but rather that, through want 
of clothing, and other hardships, they should be 
driven to the necessity of desertion; that the frontiers 
being by that means left defenceless, he might be 
furnished with a plausible pretence (in order to 
harass the poor people of this colony, for whom he 
continually expresses so great concern,) to make 
detachments from the militia for the defence thereof. 
They conclude, that any further expectation of 
having the new levies continued on the frontiers, 
will be vain;" and immediately voted for raising 

VOL, IT,— '18 


eiglit hundred other volunteers. They requested 
him to issue warrants, and to take all the proper 
measures to expedite the enlistments, and to pass a 
bill, then ready, for forming a magazine of provi- 
sions at Albany. 

The governor refused to see the messengers, or 
receive a copy of the vote, without the speaker. 

Upon this, they compelled the printer to publish 
their remonstrance, and deliver ten copies to each 
member ; and presented an address in form, implor- 
ing him to pass the bill for provisions, before the 
winter rendered it impracticable to transport them 
to Albany. It was now the 13th of November. 
He gave them this answer : 

That he took blame to himself for passing two 
bills of that nature. He had urged the necessity of 
the service in his excuse, and he would venture once 
more ; but warned them, in their bill for paying the 
forces, to insert no clauses derogatory to the pre- 
rogative, but to guard against misapplications and 
embezzlements. He added a demand of provisions 
for the independent companies at Albany, who, for 
want of supplies, were upon the point of deserting. 

On the 25th of November he passed the provi- 
sion bill ; another for a new tax of twenty-eight 
thousand pounds, for the defence of the frontiers, 
with two others of lesser moment ; and then deli- 
vering his mind in a free speech, he dissolved the 

We shall neither abstract this, nor a composition 
published in answer to it, under the title of" a letter 
to the governor," from some of the members, as 
they lead to a repetition of the history of transac- 


tions, which have perhaps ah'eady exhausted the 
patience of the reader. 

They are both in the printed journals of the 
house, and are further specimens of the scribbling 
talents of doctor Golden and Mr. Horsmanden, the 
latter having held the pen for the assembly, or rather 
for Mr. Delancey, for which he was suspended from 
the council, and removed from that bench and the 
recorder's place, and cast upon the private bounty 
of the party by whom he was employed, applauded, 
and ruined : for such was his condition, until he 
raised himself by an advantageous match, and, by 
forsaking his associates, reconciled himself to Mr. 
Clinton, when that governor broke with the man, 
whose indiscretion and vehemence the chief justice 
had improved, to expose both to the general odium 
of the colony. Until his marriage with Mrs. Vesey, 
Mr. Horsmanden was an object of pity ; toasted, 
indeed, as the man who dared to be honest in the 
w^orst of times, but at a loss for his meals, and, by 
the importunity of his creditors, hourly exposed to 
the horrors of a jail ; and hence his irreconcilable 
enmity to doctor Golden, by whose advice he fell, 
and to Mr. Delancey, whose ambitious politics 
exposed him to the vengeance of that minister. 

Mr. Glinton could not hope for any change of 
measures by the late dissolution. He saw Mr. Jones 
again speaker of the house, and all the chief leaders 
of the last came up to the assembly, on the 12th of 
February, 1748. 

The first object was the execution of the plan 
agreed on by the commissioners, 28tli of September 
last, approved by Gonnecticut, and, all but the 


eleventh article, by Massachusetts bay, with some 
alterations ; then he called their attention to the 
Indian interest, and the employing parties from these 
tribes to scour the woods ; to the civil list not 
provided for last fall ; an augmentation of colonel 
Johnson's allowance for provisions to the garrison of 
Oswego ; repairs of forts, and supplies of ammu- 
nition ; rewards for scalps ; the maintenance of 
prisoners ; the charges of transporting and victual- 
ling the levies on the frontiers ; the removal of the 
cannon from Saratoga to Albany ; necessary ex- 
presses ; gunsmiths in the Indian countries ; the rent 
of his house ; completing the new mansion in the 
fort, stables, and other conveniencies ; and, after 
persuading to harmony, promises his concurrence in 
all measures conducive to the king's service and the 
interests of the colony. 

He had a very short address from the house, 
intimating their satisfaction in his promises, as ends 
truly worthy his pursuit; promising attention and 
despatch, but expressing some discontent with 
Massachusetts bay, for not ratifying the compact 
framed by the commissioners. 

The governor informed them of intelligence that 
preparations were making in Canada for an attack 
on the northern parts of this colony ; and hoped 
as Massachusetts had substantially concurred, their 
alterations in the compact would be no obstacle to 
our exertions against the enemy. But they imme- 
diately after voted, that the alterations would in a 
great measure defeat the end proposed, and that 
they would not agree to them. 

He then communicated a letter from the duke of 


Newcastle, directing measures for cultivating the 
Indian fidelity, at the expense of the crown ; and 
advised their improving this juncture for concerting 
some vigorous enterprise, in conjunction with the 
other colonies, against the common enemy. 

On the 19th of March, and when no cross inci- 
dent had as yet intervened, the house adopted the 
measure, so often recommended, of appointing an 
agent in Great Britain. They voted two hundred 
pounds for this purpose, among the other provisions 
in the annual bill for the civil list ; and, to facilitate 
the design, introduced the vote for an agent to apply 
for his majesty's assistance and to manage our 
public affairs, with the following preamble ; " As this 
colonv is so situated, that its northern frontiers are 
a barrier and defence to all his majesty's other colo- 
nies to the southward on the continent, and lying 
nearest to the enemy, is continually exposed to their 
incursions and ravages ; to prevent which, it has 
long been, and still is, exposed to a very great and 
insupportable expense, in building fortresses and 
maintaining forces for its defence, being at this 
juncture obliged to keep nearly one thousand men 
in continual pay on its northern frontiers, by which 
means the southern colonies are in a great measure 
secured and defended from the incursions of the 
French and Indians from Canada, without contri- 
buting any thing towards the heavy expense thereby 

The real design of this was to elude the necessity 
of the governor's concurrence in a legislative ap- 
pointment of the person, and to engross the agent 
by his dependence solely on the pleasure of the 

I , 


house, for they meant to make him their own servant 
against the governor ; and the sequel will show their 

Mr. Clinton repeated his instances, on the 30th of 
March, for an united attack upon the enemy, as 
conducive to our own safety ; the recall of their 
emissaries from the Indians, with whom they were 
intriguing ; and to encourage the assembly, engaged 
at the expense of the crown, to keep any fort they 
might take. But he could only procure a vote ap- 
proving the design, and promising to pay the expense 
of commissioners in meeting to concert a plan ; and 
a few days afterwards the session ended, with appa- 
rent harmony, several bills having been previously 
passed, viz. for a military watch ; building block 
houses ; the defence of the frontiers ; raising eigh- 
teen hundred pounds more for a college ; and the 
payment of the salaries of the governor and other 
officers for a year ; to which the assembly had also 
tacked a reward of one hundred and fifty pounds to 
Mr. Horsmanden, for his late controversial labours, 
under the pretext of drafting their bills, and other 
public service. But as it might have been, and 
perhaps was, foreseen, the house, just before they 
were called up to witness the governor's assent and 
subscription, named Robert Charles, Esq, for their 
agent at the court of Great Britain, and authorized 
their speaker to instruct and correspond with him, 
and at present to direct him to oppose the royal 
confirmation of a late act in New Jersey, respecting 
the line of partition, conceived to be injurious to 
this province. 

Mr. Charles's appointment gave the highest plea- 


sure to the party who led the opposition against the 
governor, and not without reason ; Mr. Warren's 
activity at Louisburg having procured him not only 
an interest at court, and a knighthood, but vast 
popular applause, and excited his hopes of procuring 
what his wife's relations of the Delancey family 
ardently wished for, his appointment to the govern- 
ment of this colony. The Newcastle interest in 
favour of the possessor, had hitherto rendered the 
colony politics unsuccessful, and there was a neces- 
sity for some pointed exertions against him by an 
agent at court, to improve and give them success. 
They now had this advantage ; and on the very day 
Mr. Charles was nominated, Mr. Speaker Jones 
despatched a letter to him, which, as it exceeded the 
authority given him by the vote of the house, gives 
some countenance to Mr. Clinton's assertions, which 
every one knew to be true, that the late assembly 
had been influenced from without doors.* 

The governor and his assembly came together 
again on the 21st of June, when he informed the 
house, that unless the Indians could be engaged in 
some enterprise, he feared their total defection, and 
pressed the attack on Crown Point. He purposed 
to meet them and distribute presents, in July, at the 
expense of the crown ; and proposed an act to 
prevent purchases from the Indians, of arms, am- 
munition, and clothing, and sales of rum to them, 
without his license. He asks for money for new 
fortifications, according to the plans of captain 
Armstrong, an engineer sent out to direct in that 

* See note II- 


business ; recommends the defence of their com- 
merce against privateers then infesting the coast ; 
provision for maintaining French prisoners, and the 
redemption of our own people, and rewards for 

Mr. Clinton had, on the 18th of February last, 
given the command of the troops in the pay of the 
colony, for the defence of the frontiers, to colonel 
Johnson — the same who, living in the Mohawks' 
country, on the route to Oswego, had been contrac- 
tor for supplying the garrison there with provisions, 
and he took this opportunity to ask an allowance 
for his trouble. 

The house gave a vote of credit for a flag to 
Canada for an exchange of prisoners ; expret^sed 
surprise at his urging the Crown Point expedition, 
since the Massachusetts province w^ould not ratify 
the compact of the commissioners, and had with- 
drawn their stores from Albany ; agreed to take up 
the other matters recommended in the fall ; and 
now only sent up a bill, which was passed, agreeably 
to his own request in the message. They sat but 
ten days, and without open animosity, though a 
motion of colonel Beekman's had given an oppor- 
tunity to revive it* 

Certain discharged soldiers of a company com- 
manded by captain Ross, raised for the Canada 
expedition, had sued, and others intended to bring 
actions against him, for their pay. The governor 
had written to a country court judge, and Cather- 
wood, his secretary, to the clerk and sheriff, against 
the issuing and service of the process. The house, 
agreeably to the motion, appointed a committee to 


make the proper inquiries, and report their opinion. 
But nothing further was done ; for the governor, 
upon sight of the journal, wrote to the speaker, 
owning that letters were written touching deserters, 
and only recommending it to the officers of the 
courts to put a stop to the claims of deserters with 
his majesty's arms and clothing, who had thereby 
forfeited their pay ; and that if this could be con- 
strued a violation of the laws, it was owing to 
inadvertency, and without any injurious intention, 
and that he was ready to recompense all damage the 
public had sustained. The house referred this 
letter to a committee of the whole, and took no 
further notice, at that time, of Mr. Beekman's 

When they met in the autumn, (14th October,) he 
congratulated them on the prospect of peace, and 
complained of inequitable terms proposed by the 
governor of Canada for a release of prisoners ; and 
asked a five years' support, agreeably to precedent 
in the times of his predecessors, Hunter, Burnet, 
Montgomery, and Cosby ; said he had not started 
objections to the annual provisions on account of the 
war, the advice he then received, and his desire to 
give content ; but that he now thought it a proper 
time to resist the innovations which had weakened 
the king's government ; that he should consent to 
their annexing the salaries to the officers in the act, 
but not to the officer by name. He then urged a 
discharge of two thousand one hundred and thirty- 
eight pounds, withheld from colonel Johnson, by 
reason of the deficiency of the fund out of which 

VOL. II. — 19 


he was to be satisfied ; provision for arrears to the 
army, for expresses, the exchange of prisoners, 
and the finishing the new edifice at the fort. 

This was raking up the old embers, and disagree- 
able to every body but Golden and Delancey. Their 
address intimated a disinclination to continue the 
rangers in pay ; that the three independent compa- 
nies at Albany (which ought to consist of a hundred 
men each) would suffice, with the old peace garrison 
at Oswego. 

Their ill success in the Canada cartel, they impute 
to the low characters of the envoys he had sent to 
Mr. Vaudreuil, the governor of that country. 

They declared that they would not depart from 
the modern method of annual support bills ; adding^ 
with Mr. Horsmanden's pen, that " had the salaries 
been annexed to the office, himself (under the un- 
happy influence he then was) would have filled the 
office of third justice of the supreme court, with 
some unworthy person in the room of a gentleman 
of experience and learning in the law, whom you 
removed from that station without any colour of mis- 
conduct, at least as we ever heard of, under the sole 
influence of a person of so mean and so despicable 
a character, (as the general assembly has several 
times heretofore occasionally signified to you,) that 
it is astonishing to us that your excellency should 
persist in submitting your conduct to his sole council 
and guidance." 

They told him not only that he was well advised 
when he first assented to the annual support, but that 
'^ he did it for ample and sufficient reasons, and good 


and valuable considerations, as we have understood, 
in acceding to those terms." 

After a copy was sent to the governor, he signi- 
fied by a message, that they had shown no regard to 
decency, and that he should not receive such an 

He then repeated what was most necessary for 
the public service ; says his envoys to Canada were 
the best he could get ; and adds " you are pleased 
to give the characters of some persons that I have 
had better opportunities to know than you can have 
had ; however, I believe that by this paper, (the 
address,) some men's characters will be very evident 
to every man who shall read it, and who has the least 
sense of honour." 

On this they made an entry of the declaration of 
their messengers, who were sent to know when he 
would receive the address in substance, that he said 
he had not seen a copy of it ; on which they had 
given it to him without any order of the house so to 
do ; and thereupon they resolved, that it is irregular, 
and contrary to the course of parliamentary proceed- 
ings, to send a copy, and that the governor had no 
right to insist on such a copy ; that it was their right 
to have access to him on public business ; that his 
denial of access was a violation of their rights, con- 
trary to his solemn promise to the speaker, tending 
to the destruction of all intercourse, and to the utter 
subversion of the constitution ; and that whoever 
advised it, had endeavoured to create dissentions, 
stop the intercourse for public business, and is an 
enemy to the general assembly of this colony, and of 
the people whom they represent. 


Notwithstanding these violences, the governor 
passed three bills on the 28th of October : one for 
reviving that to raise eighteen hundred pounds for a 
college by a lottery : another to continue the duty 
act for the support of government ; and a third, for 
the payment of the forces. On the 12th of Novem- 
ber, he sent for them again, and passed three more 
bills, and then, in a speech in answer to their 
resolves, observed : 

That it was his duty to preserve the king's autho- 
rity ; that they violated the rules of decency, and 
vv^ere answerable for the consequences ; that their 
right to access, and his promise to allow it, are con- 
nected, and both to be, when the king's service and 
the public good require it, of which he had a right to 
judge as well as they. 

He then censures their appealing to the people 
instead of the crown, to whom he had told them he 
should send their paper of address. 

He confesses that he passes some of their bills 
with reluctance, and only on account of the public 
exigencies ; and then put an end to the services of 
the year, by a long prorogation to the 14th of March. 

The poverty and number of the public creditors, 
and the sufferings of the unredeemed captives in 
Canada, called for an earlier meeting of the assem- 
bly than the 28th of June, a season of all others 
most inconvenient to a senate of husbandmen, who 
w^ere just then entering into their harvests. The 
governor had need, therefore, of an apology for 
postponing the session ; and his expectations of 
direction from government on the modern mode of 
providing annually for the civil list, was the pretext 


for this delay. The speech held up no other object 
to their attention ; what he demanded was a revenue, 
and the payment of debts, in a manner comformably 
to the directions of the king's commission and 
instructions. Having at the last session passed the 
revenue bill, without another to supply it, which had 
not been offered to him, he now observed, that there 
was money in the treasury granted to his majesty, 
not a farthing of which he could pay out. This he 
called an inconsistency, repugnant to the constitu- 
tion, prejudicial to the king's service, and which, he 
said, must be remedied ; and he required an answer 
in direct and positive terms, before they took up any 
other business, whether they would grant a revenue 
agreeably to royal directions, or not. 

With a copy of his speech he gave them a clause 
of his commission, dated 3d of July, 1741, declaring 
it to be his majesty's pleasure, that all public moneys 
be issued by the governor's warrant, with the advice 
of the council, and disposed of for the support of 
government, and not otherwise ; with copies of the 
fifteenth and thirty-second instructions of the 10th 
of September, 1741 ; the former requiring, that no 
law for any imposition on wine or other strong 
liquors, be made to continue for less than one whole 
year; and that all other laws for the supply and 
support of government, be indefinite and without 
limitation, except the same be for a temporary ser- 
vice, to expire and have their full effect within the 
time therein prefixed ; — and the latter, commanding 
him not to sufier any public money whatsoever to be 
issued or disposed of, otherwise than by warrant 
under his hand, with the advice of the council ; with 


leave to the assembly nevertheless, from time to 
time, to view and examine the accounts of money, or 
value of money, disposed of by virtue of laws made 
by them, which he is to signify to them as there 
should be occasion. 

After seven days, their committee brought in their 
address, which was instantly approved, and the 
speaker ordered to sign the very copy prepared, of 
which mention is here made to show their unanimity, 
though the governor thought it, and not without 
reason, a proof of the resignation of the members 
to an implicit confidence in their leaders. 

They tell him that his instructions are not new, 
though he insinuates that they are, but more ancient 
than the modern annual provision ; that they perceive 
no command for a five years' support, nor, that if 
the crown officers are paid, that it makes any 
difference whether the provision be annually, or for 
a given term of years ; that they retain the opinion 
they suggested last autumn, having since received 
no new light, that the distresses of the public credi- 
tors are imputable to his prorogation of the 12th of 
November, by which the application bill was lost : 
they remind him of their votes for the redemption 
of the captives ; and conclude with asserting, that 
" the faithful representatives of the people can never 
recede from the method of an annual support." 

The governor refused to receive this address, 
until he had a copy of it ; and they resolved as 
before mentioned, that he had no right to insist 
upon it. 

He, on the other hand, alleged, that the king 
always had copies of addresses before they were 


publicly preferred, and that such had been the 
usage in this colony ; and that he claimed a right to 
know their transactions, because he had authority 
to restrain them to a due course. Taxing them 
with heat and precipitation, he observed, that they 
met after nine o'clock, when they received and 
approved the address ; and that the messengers 
were with him for fixing a time to present it, before 
ten the same morning. 

Confessing now that he had seen it in the minutes 
brought by the clerk, he informed them that they 
might present it immediately. This done, he ad- 
journed them from the 7th to the llth ; and the 
day after, by a message, he observes, upon the 
difference between his conduct and theirs, that after 
every prorogation, he spoke as though they had 
never disagreed, but that they constantly calum- 
niated his administration. He proceeds then to 
vindicate himself from the suggestions, that the 
non-redemption of the Canada captives was his 
fault ; that he could not find a man who would 
perform any services for them upon the credit of 
their resolves, nor was it to be wondered at, since 
they had not, though urged to it, paid the expenses 
of the last flag, contracted on their vote of the 
27th of June, 1748. He complains of their pervert- 
ing his speech, with a view to mislead ; denies 
that his present demand was for a five years' sup- 
port, but that it chiefly referred to the method of 
issuing public money ; that he knew the sentiments 
of administration, *' and they might have at least 
guessed at them, by the bill lately brought into 
parliament, and published in this place, for enforc- 


ing the king's instructions.* It is an essential part 
of the English constitution, that the power of grant- 
ing the money and of issuing it, be in different 
branches of the constitution, as the best method to 
prevent misapplication ; for if those who grant the 
money, had likewi-^e the power of distributing it 
among their friends and relations, under any pre- 
tences of public service, there can be none to call 
them to account for misapplication." And again : 
" You have given money to private persons for 
services not recommended, and for services of which 
I to this day remain ignorant ; and by mixing of the 
grants in the same bill wherein you provided for the 
support of government, or other necessary services, 
you put me under the necessity of giving my assent 
to them, or of leaving the government without 
support. This is so dangerous an invasion of his 
majesty's prerogative, and so injurious to the people 
of this province, that you may assure yourselves it 
will not be suffered to continue." 

He importunes them for satisfaction to colonel 
Johnson ; and closes with entreating them to con- 

'^ A bill to regulate and restrain paper bills of credit in the colonies, prevent 
them from being a tender, and to enforce the king's instructions. It was ordered 
to be brought in the IGth of February, 1749, by Mr. Horatio Walpole, Lord 
Dapplin, Mr. Alderman Baker, and others. It had been long in agitation at the 
board of trade, and was nearly on the model of one brought into parliament four 
years before. Mr. Charles gave early notice of it to the speaker, by a letter of 
the 2d of March, 1749. The last four clauses insidiously gave the royal instruc- 
tions the eCacacy of laws. It was at first little adverted to, and when its ten- 
dency was discovered, the advocates disowned the intention ascribed to it. 
When the counsel were ready, (1st of May, 1749,) they were directed by the 
speaker to confine themselves to the first parts of it, in consequence of a declara- 
tion made by some of its promoters, that the other parts would be dropped. 
The bill, after debate, was postponed for further information concerning the 
state of the paper currency in the plantations, and the king applied to for 
orders on that subject. 


sider " the great liberties they are indulged with, and 
what may be the consequences, should our mother 
country suspect that you have a design to lessen the 
prerogative of the crown in the plantations, 

'* The Romans did not allow the same privileges to 
their colonies which the other citizens enjoyed ; and 
you know in what manner the republic of Holland 
governs her colonies. Endeavour, then, to show 
your great thankfulness for the great privileges you 

The house tells him, by another address, that he 
had renewed the differences by the demand of a five 
years' support. They had agreed suddenly to their 
last address, but it is true, and not the less so for 
being spoken in half an hour. They see still no 
reason why the captives were not released ; their 
waiting for accounts, was the cause of their delay in 
providing for the expenses of the late flag, and the 
satisfaction of colonel Johnson's demands. 

To his boast, that he had neither invaded liberty 
or property, they reply with a wish, that the breach 
upon the stores at Albany, the letters to the judge, 
sheriff, and clerk of Dutchess, and his attempts 
upon the liberty of the press, were buried in oblivion. 
They submit to the judgment of the world, whether 
the object of his last speech is not an indefinite sup- 
port. They insist that many services are provided 
for by parliament, not recommended by the crown ; 
that for every provision they make, the act mentions 
the service ; that it is himself who endeavours to 
mislead the people. They admit it to be the u^age 
of parliament to raise sums for uses, and leave the 
disposition to the king : but there is a difference 
between kings and governors— the case of a people 
VOL. II. — 20 


under the royal eye, and those at a distance. The 
kin!:^ can have no interest disunited from his sub- 
jects, and his officers are amenable to justice in 
Great Britain ; but governors are generally straa- 
gers, and without estates in the places they govern ; 
seldom regard the welfare of the people ; uncertain 
in their stay in offices, all engines are contrived to 
raise estates ; and they can never want pretexts for 
misapplication, if they had the disposition of money ; 
nor can there be any redress ; the representatives 
cannot call them to account — they cannot suspend 
the council ; the lords of trade have thought it 
reasonable to oblige the assembly, as much as pos- 
sible, with the disposition of public money ; they 
will not believe the king has other sentiments. 

The governor refused this address, but proposed 
to throw the services not recommended by him into 
a separate bill ; and sent them a copy of his twelfth 
instruction, importing, that for different matters 
distinct laws be enacted, but nothing foreign from 
the title inserted, and that there be no implicative 

The house flamed again ; renewed their resolves 
on the right of access, and the enmity of his adviser ; 
refused to proceed, until they were satisfied for the 
injury their address received ; and that they would 
then provide for the public creditors, w^hose disap- 
pointments they impute to his prorogation of the 
12th of November. 

To these which lliey sent him, be returned his 
former answer, that the address wanted respect, and 
he should lay it before the king's ministers ; and re- 
iniplored their commiseration of the public creditors. 


This message they voted not only unsatisfactory, but 
a breach of their privileges ; and did nothing after 
it but meet and adjourn, from the 21st of July to the 
4th of August ; when, after deliveringa long, heated 
vindicatory speech, he prorogued the assembly. 

Mr. Clinton began to discern, that the heated 
councils of Mr. Golden on the one hand, and of 
Chief Justice Delancey on the other, might endan- 
ger his recall to England, or the appointment of a 
new governor. 

He now became intimate with Mr. Chief Justice 
Morris, who was meditating a voyage to England, to 
give success to the project of the general proprietors 
of New-Jersey, for establishing the line of partition 
between that colony and this. 

I have already observed that Mr. Charles, though 
agent, was directed in April, 1748, to oppose the 
royal confirmation of the Jersey act for running the 
line. Mr. Morris, who was named in a commission 
with Mr. Alexander and Mr. Parker, had produced 
the commission and a copy of the act to our assem- 
bly, on the 28th of June following, and desired, if 
there were objections to it, that they might be com- 
municated to the commissioners, or to the government 
of New- Jersey. On the 20th of October, there was 
a petition from certain persons affected by the New- 
Jersey claims, to be heard against the new act. 
They were heard the 28th of October ; and the next 
day the house resolved, that their objections were 
strong and well grounded, and the petitioners order- 
ed to prepare written proofs to support them, to be 
communicated to Mr. Charles ; and a motion of 
colonel Morris's, for charging the proprietors with 


the expenses of the controversy, rejected on the 
previous question. 

It was expedient to the governor that the king's 
ministers should be made acquainted with the true 
springs of the opposition to Mr. Clinton, and his 
conduct defended by suggestions, not easily, nor 
perhaps safely, to be communicated upon paper. 

Mr. Morris's voyage furnished the governor with 
a solicitor of no mean art and address, and he under- 
took the office with the more cheerfulness from the 
animosity which had long subsisted between the 
families of Morris and Delancey, the hope of becom- 
ing lieutenant-governor by Mr. Clinton's interest, 
and of engaging the influence of the Newcastle 
patronage in favour of the proprietary object for 
establishing an advantageous boundary projected by 
Mr. Alexander in the year 1719. 

Mr. Colden could not be an advocate in every 
part of this scheme, as it v^^ould deprive him of the 
succession to the command as eldest counsellor, and 
he hoped by his zeal for the prerogative to recom- 
mend himself to the rank aimed at by Mr. Morris. 
He was, therefore, to be used no longer than till he 
had assisted in such representations of the state of 
the colony as Mr. Morris was to be charged with, 
in justification of the governor, and for drawing 
down the resentment of the crown upon his oppo- 
sers. The governor's intentions, in favour of Mr. 
Morris, were to be a secret. Mr. Colden was after- 
wards dismissed, and the loss of his services sup- 
plied by Mr. Alexander, with whom Mr. Clinton had 
a good understanding, and for, or by whom, he had 
been prevailed upon to write a letter to the lords of 


trade, on the 7th of October, 1748, (not discovered 
till 1753,) calculated to facilitate the king's confirm- 
ation of the Jersey act, for the establishment of the 
line of partition so much desired by the proprietors 
of the eastern part of that colony.* 

The lords of trade were easily excited to espouse 
the cause of the governor, and began an exhibition 
of the state of the colony to his majesty, but 
proceeded so slowly that Mr. Clinton's hopes of a 
victory over the assembly, whom he had frequently 
prorogued in expectation of it, were exhausted. He, 
therefore, dissolved the house, determining, if he 
was not supported by the ministry, to give way to 
the anti-Cosbyan doctrine of annual supplies, and 
the rather, because it was impossible for him to form 
a party in his favour, till the clamours of the public 
creditors were appeased. 

Mr. Jones had the honour to be seated again in 
the chair when the new assembly met, on the 4th of 
September, 1750, in which but six new members 
were introduced. 

The business opened by the speech was : the 
support of Oswego; an attention to the Indians; 
provision for the officers of government, who had 
been two years unpaid ; and the discharge of the 
public debts. In framing bills for raising money, he 
recommended a conformity to his commission and 
instructions, remarking, that these were planned 
at the revolution by those great ministers so dis- 
tinguished by their knowledge and zeal for the 
constitution. This was thought necessary, not only 

* Spe Note. I. 


to prevent a popular triumph, but that the governor 
might not, by the arrival of any instructions, be ex- 
posed to retract with disgrace. Besides, it inspired 
the house with some dread — many of the public 
creditors imputing their disappointments rather to 
party rage than patriotic designs. 

The assembly, unwilling to cavil at the com- 
mencement of the session, presented a short and 
cold address — thanking the governor for his pro- 
mise to promote the peace and prosperity of the 
colony, and giving him theirs of an immediate 
attention to what he had recommended. 

The session continued to the 24th of November, 
the governor and his assembly proceeding with 
equal caution. They fearing that he would reject 
the annual support bills, and he their keeping them 
back. Both w^ere, therefore, pleased at the close 
of it, for thirty-five acts were then passed of general 
or particular utility : the currency of paper money 
prolonged ; the credit of our staple of flour secured ; 
most of the public creditors satisfied; the arrears of 
the oflicers of government paid, and provision made 
for them and the agent for the ensuing year ; and 
the digest of the laws of the colony, beginning at 
the revolution. 

Among the causes for the present moderation of 
the assembly, I must not omit the intelligence of the 
attention of government to the true sources of the 
public animosities. It was communicated to the 
house by Mr. Charles, and it cooled the ardour of 
their leaders. " I am informed (says he in his letter 
of the 29th of March, 1750,) that the board of trade 
are now preparing a representation of the state of 


the province of New- York, to be laid before his 
majesty in council ; and I understand, time will be 
given to all persons interested to be fully heard, 
before any determination shall be made thereupon." 

It was at this session that the expense of opposing 
the Jersey partition act was voted to be a provincial 
charge, an advantage derived to the New- York 
proprietors from the party spirit of that day, in- 
fluenced by the Delancey family, and stimulated, 
in part, by a small interest they then had in the 
patent of the Minisink, affected by the Jersey claim ; 
but much more to sacrifice to the idol of popularity, 
and cross the new confidants on whom Mr. Clinton 
now relied. It will appear in the sequel, that they 
duped their countrymen more for the same views, 
till they were no longer of any use to their ambition, 
and that when one of the demagogues of that house 
became himself, several years afterwards, a pro- 
prietor of New-Jersey, the interest of New-York 
was abandoned, and by his influence and artifice 
sacrificed to his avarice. 

Mr. speaker Jones's letter to the agent showed 
not only the spirit and idea of the assembly respect- 
ing the New- York title, but chief justice Delancey's 
opinion was then strenuously contended for in all 
companies by him and his party. Mr. Charles had 
hinted at the propriety of leaving the controversy to 
commissioners, as the proper mode for settling it ; 
to which it is answered — " As to your intimation of 
having commissioners appointed for ascertaining the 
line of partition, I am to acquaint you, that inasmuch 
as the crown is concerned as well as many hundreds 
of his majesty's subjects of this colony, we choose to 


have a hearing and rely on the merits of our cause, 
unless the agents for New- Jersey will agree to be 
governed by the boundaries of the patent granted 
by King Charles the second to his brother James, 
Duke of York, the 12th March, in the 16th year of 
his reign, which boundaries, given by the crown to 
the Duke of York, are as follows, viz: * All that 
island or islands, called by the several names of 
Masowacks or Long Island, situate, lying and being 
to the west of Cape Cod, and the narrow Higgan- 
sett, upon the main land between the two rivers 
there called or known by the several names of Con- 
necticut and Hudson's river ; together with tho said 
river called Hudson's river, and all the lands from 
the west side of Connecticut river to the east of 
Delaware bay, with the powers of government.' 
If then the Jersey agents will agree, that the head 
of Delaware bay, which is at Reedy Island, is their 
north bounds on Delaware, which we conceive is 
conformable to the patent from King Charles the 
second to the duke of York, and run a line from 
thence to the latitude of 41 degrees on Hudson's 
river, we are willing commissioners should be ap- 
pointed to see the line run ; for as to the boundaries 
described in the patent granted by the duke of 
York to John Lord Berkley, &c. we conceive, they 
are no otherwise to be regarded in this dispute than 
as fixing the north bound on Hudson's river, because 
the said duke could not extend his grant to them 
higher on Delaware bay or river than was granted 
to him by his brother King Charles the second ; the 
north boundary of which grant from King Charles 
we take to be at Reedy Island, or the head of Dela- 


ware, at that place where that river divides itself 
into two branches, commonly called the Forks of 
Delaware, and run a line from thence to forty-one 
degrees of latitude on Hudson's river— this colony, 
with the assent of the crown, will agree to it, and 
that commissioners shall be appointed to see it run ; 
otherwise you are to proceed to a hearing, and to 
insist on the boundaries granted by King Charles to 
his brother the duke of York." 

So early as at this time Mr. Clinton gave notice 
of the activity of the French emissaries in practising 
upon the Indians on the river Ohio. He proposed 
a treaty with them, in conjunction with Mr. Hamilton 
the governor of Pennsylvania, to secure their fidelity. 
The assembly excused themselves in an address, on 
account of their burdens during the war, of which 
that province, though benefitted by them, had borne 
no part. The governor gave them a calm answer, 
and offered his services if they would provide for 
the expense. The house then voted eight hundred 
pounds for presents, and one hundred and fifty 
pounds more for his disbursements in attending a 
new treaty with the Six Nations ; but offering to pro- 
vide for them by a separate bill, to which the council 
proposed amendments, (not concurred in because it 
was a money bill,) it was lost, but the substance of 
it tacked to the salary bill. The French scheme of 
settling and fortifying in that part of the Indian 
country, was one of the principal causes of the new 
war of 1 756 ; nor shall I omit, that it was at this 
session the house adjudged the arrest of a candidate 
on the day before his election to be a member of 
the house, to be illegal. 

VOL. IT. — 21 


It was the case of Mr. Tappcn, chosen one of th« 
representatives of Dutchess county. The sheriff 
liad him in custody on civil process for debt, and 
his colleague, colonel Beekman, moved for his 
enlargement and attendance. The prisoner brought 
his habeas corpus returnable in term, while the 
house was sitting, and moved to be discharged by 
the court. There were, at that time, but two 
judges. The legality of the imprisonment on the 
day of election was contested at the bar, and the 
court being divided, the prisoner continued in con- 
finement till he carried his point in the house, but 
not without a division, in which Mr. Clarkson, Mr. 
Richards, and others, supported a motion, that it 
was dangerous to the countr'' to take a man from 
the jail for debt and admit hit i into a house consist- 
ing but of twenty-seven members. He afterwards 
absconded, and a writ issued for a new election. 

The opinion of the majority gave no small offence 
without doors ; but the contradiction on the bench 
was applauded as a master-stroke of policy to pre- 
serve the concord which subsisted between the 
judges and assembly — Mr. Philipse being a mem- 
ber, and Mr. Delancey's opinion agreeable to the 
judgment of the majority ir "avour of Mr. Tappen — 
the judges reading the reasons for theii* respective 
decisions with rapidity. The puisne judge's real 
or affected passion on Mr. Delancey's argument and 
opinion, afforded no small merriment to the prac- 
tisers, this diversity being ascribed to the policy of 
the Chief Justice, who had no inclination to differ 
with any of the leading members of the house. It is 
proper to remark, that there was no act of the colony 


tn force respecting the' privileges of the members, 
from which the junior judge drew consequences, 
which Mr. Delancey eluded by rising to the higher 
sources of the common law, and by applying the 
liberty of attending on the judicatures and courts to 
those on the court of elections, he deduced by 
arguments, ab inconvenienti, and his main conclu- 
sion, that the arrests of Mr. Tappen were void. 

It was a fault of this assembly that no applications 
were made to parliament on the bill respecting the 
importation of iron from America, by w^hich the 
colonies were restrained from erecting slitting 
mills, (fee. The agent had given early notice of it 
in his letter of the 29th of June, 1749: — " It gave 
me pleasure," says he, " to find by some hints 
thrown out in the hoLise, that there is a probability 
of getting something done to encourage the iron 
mines of America. This is a matter in which most 
of the colonies are concerned, and well deserving 
their joint efforts. It likewise demands the atten- 
tion of this kingdom, as nothing is more demon- 
strably the interest of Britain than to receive from 
her own colonies, in exchange for British manufac- 
tures, a commodity for which a balance is now paid 
in money to foreignei's ^and it is to be hoped, that 
an encouragement of kind would, in its conse- 
quences, be a means of promoting the growth of 
hemp as a fit assortment of a cargo for Britain." 
Nor was it enough that their speaker had desired 
Mr. Charles to use his greatest efforts against the 
four last clauses of the bill relating to paper money, 
for enforcing the obedience of the colonies to the 
royal instructions, of which we were apprised before 


the last session of the preceding assembly; tlie 
speaker's letter, for the opposition, bearing date the 
29th of June, 1749. 

The party animosities of the day engrossed the 
general attention ; and the proprietors of the iron 
furnaces, (of which there were only two, that at 
Sterling, owned by Mr. Smith and others, and Mr. 
Livingston's at Ancram,) less vigilant than Mr. Allen, 
who instantly began a slitting mill in Jersey, lost an 
opportunity for advancing their own and the interest 
of the colony. While the iron bill was under con- 
sideration in the house of commons, Mr. Chief 
Justice Morris, to serve his country, consented to be 
examined respecting the works in America, and felt 
all the distress which the public detection of a want 
of information will necessarily create in a delicate 
mind, where there is a disappointed ambition to 
exceL He could never recollect that hour without a 
great degree of that confusion and anxiety which 
led him to counterfeit a sudden indisposition for 
withdrawing himself from a situation in which he 
could neither sustain the ridicule of others, nor his 
own consciousness of incapacity and disgrace : some 
members of the committee, whose aims he was 
brought to traverse, addressed him on their ques- 
tions by the title of " my Lord Chief Justice," that 
his imperfect answ^ers might have the less weight ; 
and certainly they succeeded in their design ; for 
though Mr. Morris had professed his knowledge of 
this branch of business, he found himself entirely- 
ignorant, not only of the process of the work, but 
of the artificers employed in it, and the wages they 
received both in Great Britain and America. 


Mr. Clinton improved the interim before the next 
call of the assembly, in animating several other go- 
vernments to watch against the French artifices in 
corrupting the fidelity of the Indians, intending to 
hold a treaty with the Six Nations in the summer of 
1751. Previous to his voyage to Albany, he called 
the members to a condolence on the death of the 
Prince of Wales, and to a further contribution for the 
savages — both ends were answered. An affectionate 
address, in which they all joined, was transmitted 
to the king ; the design of a treaty approved, with 
promises to supply the deficiency, if any there should 
be, for brightening the chain of alliance with the 
" Six Nations, who depend immediately upon this 
colony,^"* But at their interview in October, there 
were early indications that the spirit of party was 
not yet extinguished, though some of the chiefs of 
the opposition were dead.* 

The speech asked for the discharge of what was 
still due to the public creditors ; an attention to the 
Indians, the French being assiduously intent upon 
debauching them ; and for the support of govern- 
ment, with a due regard to the royal commission and 

There was an immediate call of the house, and in 
the address, a promise to provide for the govern- 
ment ; to pay just debts ; an intimation of surprise 
at further demands for the Indians ; a complaint 
that some of the members had not circular letters to 
notify this meeting, and a request that it may not be 
omitted in future. It was another bad symptom, 

"^ Mr. Clarkson, Mr. Justice Philipse. and Mr. Micheaux. 


that they did not send him a copy of it. The answer, 
therefore, was communicated by a message. 

That they should have an account of the thousand 
pounds he had distributed among the Indians ; that 
the deputy secretary had orders to send letters to all 
the members, and he had assured them they were 
despatched to every one except the speaker, but 
that this last was not usual, it being customary for 
him to attend the governor before a prorogation 
expired. He recommended a union of councils, and 
hoped, he said, to convince them that no considera- 
tion whatsoever was any weight with him, but the 
welfare and prosperity of the people committed to 
his care. 

The flame did not break out till the 18th of 
November, when colonel Johnson came down with 
a message from the council for the vouchers of the 
several demands provided for in a bill sent up for 
the payment of the colony debts, and the accounts 
which the governor had sent or recommended for 
discharge. They voted this an unprecedented and 
extraordinary demand. The council asserted it to 
be their right, and resolved not to proceed on that 
bill until they were gratified ; and sent down another 
of their own, for applying five hundred pounds for 
Indian affairs and the repair of Oswego. This the 
assembly would hear but once, and rejected it for 
intrenching " on the great, essential, and undoubted 
rights of the house, to begin all bills for raising and 
disposing of money." 

Tliey then prepared an address, lamenting the 
want of more money for the Indians, suggesting 
that the unsettled state of their affairs proceeds 


from misconduct or inattention, and that they made 
no provision for repairs at Oswego for want of 
estimates ; complaining of the council as the authors 
of all the bad consequences of the bill to discharge 
the colony debts, it being a breach of trust to consent 
to their claim of inspecting accounts ; and praying 
that he would pass such bills as he approved, and 
give the house a recess for the winter. 

After the delivery of this address, the governor 
declared he could give no answer to it before he 
had consulted the council ; and two days afterwards 
informed them that colonel Johnson had the merit 
of dissuading the Indians from their old practice of 
going to Canada for an exchange of prisoners, 
and inducing them to intrust them to the governor, 
as subjects of Great Britain ; and at the same time 
communicated a copy of a letter from the Indian 
interpreter, demonstrating that the French were 
indefatigable in endeavouring to defeat this advan- 
tageous innovation. 

On this they resolved, with a puerile censorious 
inuendo, at their first meeting after May, to provide 
for the " strings and belts of wampum which the 
interpreter might find necessary for transacting the 
business he had in charge from the governor;" that it 
is no part of their speaker's duty to attend governors 
in the recess of the house ; that the omission of a 
circular letter to the speaker was dangerous and 
dilatory ; and for an address that it be not hereafter 

Mr. Clinton prudently shunned all altercation — 
convened both houses the next morning, passed the 
bills that were ready, and, without the least previous 


intimation, and to the astonishment of all present, 
dissolved the assembly, who, finding themselves 
laughed at without doors, repented their passing 
the support bill for the year so early in the session, 
which gratified the ofl[icers of government, while 
their neglect of the colony creditors added to 
the governor's party, already strengthened by Mr. 
Alexander's temper, the appointment of colonel 
Johnson to the council, and Mr. Chambers to the 
second place on the bench. 

The influence of the chief justice was, never- 
theless, so prevalent, that he had a great majority 
of friends and relations in the new assembly, 
convened on the 24th day of October, 1752. 

Mr. Alexander and Mr. Smith,* upon whom the 
governor now relied^ knew their connexions before 
Mr. Jones was re-elected to the chair, and saga- 
ciously advised to short and general speeches, and 
such messages afterwards as were least calculated 
to enkindle the party fires which Mr. Colden's 
incautious, luxuriant compositions and high prin- 
ciples had so often exasperated, to the advancement 
of the popularity of the person he meant to pull 
down. The whole speech, the address and answer, 
as contrasts to the prolix transactions appearing in 
the journals of former years, are here transcribed. 

* From the abatement of tlie Cosbyan quarrels, in Mr. Clarke's time, Mr. 
Smith had totally resigned himself to that wide field of business which his 
eloquence had opened to him, wihout interfering in the general politics of the 
country. On the death of Mr. Bradley, the attorney general, he could not 
avoid giving his assistance to the governor, in gratitude for his unsolicited 
appointment to the succession. His private dairy has a memorandum in these 
words : "28th August, 1752, Richard Bradley died, and I was, without asking, 
appointed attorney and auditor general. On the 31st August received my 
commission and was sworn into the office." 


** As sundry acts whicli greatly concern the trade 
and welfare of this province will, by their own 
limitation, expire the first day of January next, I 
have appointed this meeting with you, to give you 
an opportunity either to continue those acts, or 
provide otherwise in the place of them. The state 
of the Indian affairs, and of the frontier forts and 
fortifications in general, require your most serious 
consideration, timely provision, and aid. I shall, 
by the deputy secretary, lay before you the informa- 
tion I have had concerning them. 

** Gentlemen of the Assembly, 

" The season of the year will naturally lead 
you to make provision for the support of his majesty's 

*^ Gentlemen of the Council and General Assembly, 

" I assure you, that whatever bills you shall agree 
on for the benefit of this province, consistent with 
my duty to pass, shall most readily have my assent." 


**We, his majesty's dutiful and loyal subjects, the 
General Assembly of the colony of New- York, 
return your excellency our thanks for your speech. 

" The concern your excellency expresses for the 
trade and welfare of this colony, demonstrates your 
excellency's care for the public good, and it cannot 
but be extremely pleasing to every one who has his 
country's interest sincerely at heart. The advanced 
season of the year, the difiiculties of attending the 
public service at this place, and the dangers wluch 

VOL. 11,-22, 


such members who have not had the small-pox 
apprehend themselves even here to be exposed to, 
all concur to induce us to postpone the consideration 
of every matter, not immediately necessary to be 
provided for, and shall do therein what shall be for 
his majesty's service and the welfare of this colony." 

He suppressed any remarks on the novel omission 
of a previous copy, and, three days after, called 
them to hear this 


" Geiitleinen of the General Asseinbli/, 

" T return you my thanks for this obliging 
address, and the assurances therein given me ; and 
as soon as you shall have made provision for the 
immediate and necessary service of the province, 
I shall readily grant you a recess as you desire." 

They sat only to the 11th of November, and 
having voted to provide at the next meeting for 
repairing the fortifications, the establishment of a 
college, and the usual presents for the Indians, and 
other Indian affairs, he passed their bills, and, 
among the rest, the duty bill, and for issuing out of 
that fund the salaries of the officers to the first of 
September, 1753. 

It may gratify the curiosity of the reader to know, 
that of the members of this assembly, Mr. Chief 
Justice Delancey was nephew to colonel Beekman, 
brother to Peter Delancey, brother-in-law to John 
Watts, cousin to Philip Verplanck and John Baptist 
Van Rensselaer ; that Mr. Jones the speaker, Mr. 


Richard, Mi% Walton, Mr. Cruger, Mr. Philipse, 
Mr. Winner, and Mr. Le Count, were of his most 
intimate acquaintances ; and that these twelve, of 
the twenty-seven which composed the whole house, 
held his character and sentiments in the highest 
esteem. Of the remaining fifteen he only wanted 
one to gain a majority under his influence, than 
which nothing was more certain ; for, except Mr. 
Livingston, who represented his own manor, there 
was not among the rest a man of education or 
abilities qualified for the station they were in : they 
were, in general, farmers, and directed by one or 
more of the twelve members above named — Mr. 
Dowe, by his colleagues, Mr. Winner and Mr. Rens- 
selaer; Mr. Thomas, by his brother-in-law, the- 
speaker, and his colleague, Mr. Philipse ; Mills, by 
Mr. Watts and his cousin-german, Mr. Nicoll ; 
Cornel, by his colleague, Mr. Jones ; Mr. Lot and 
Mr. Vandevier, Mr. Junton and Mr. Dupue, by all 
the city members ;* Mr. Walton, of Staten Island, 
by his cousin, a New- York member, and his col- 
league, Mr. Le Count; Mr. Filkin, by colonel 
Beekman, whose interest brought him in ; Mr. 
Snediker and Mr. Samuel Gale, by the members for 
the capital ; and Mr. Mynderse, of Schenectady, by 
Mr. Winner and Mr. Rensselaer. Of the whole 
house, the only wealthy able member, neither 
connected with Mr. Delancey nor in the sphere of 
his influence, was Mr. Livingston. 

His station on the bench, with the independent 
tenure of good behaviour, added to his amazing 

- Mesprs, Rjcliard. Crn<rer, Watts, and Walton. 


power, wliicli was again augmented by the inferior 
abilities of his assistants and his incessant assiduity, 
joined to his own affluence and that of his family, 
in cultivating all the arts of popularity from the 
moment he was disgusted by Mr. Clarke, in the 
year 1737: nor was he without dependants even in 
the council, though by the death of some weak men 
introduced by his interest, the suspension of Mr. 
Horsmanden who ventured too deeply in measures 
against Mr. Clinton, and the introduction of Mr. 
Rutherford, Mr. Holland, and colonel Johnson, he 
had lately lost ground at that board ; but, not many 
years afterwards, he found means to regain and 
almost engross the whole sway in the executive 

To him, therefore, who barely considers the 
inveterate animosity between this demagogue and 
the king's governor, such a session as the last 
may appear not a little mysterious. The truth is, 
that he began to be fearful of having overacted his 
part. It was clear from the success of Mr. Clinton's 
recommendations to office, that the representation 
prepared by the lords of trade, could not be fa- 
vorable to the party that opposed him ; and besides 
the hints dropped by Mr. Chief Justice Morris and 
others in England, of meditated vengeance, corres- 
ponded with the intimations from Mr. Charles ; and 
many persons had ventured to predict, that the 
heated councils by which the assembly had been so 
long led, would end in the ruin of the province. 
The agent had informed the speaker, by a letter of 
the 30th of May. 1751, "that the report touching 
the state of this colony, was at last transmitted from 


the board of trade to the king in council." He 
adds : "It is said to be very long and particular, and 
to consist of a quire of paper, with two quires more 
by way of appendix, whereof I can have no copy 
till it is read in council and referred to a committee, 
when I shall move for a copy to be transmitted to 
the general assembly for their instructions there- 
upon. The affair of the Jersey line remains yet 
unproceeded upon." On the 22d of June following, 
he sent a copy of the act to regulate and restrain 
paper money in the four New-England colonies, 
carried through by the patronage of the board of 
trade, with a disagreeable prognostication, that it 
appeared to him " to be a prelude to a total abolition 
of paper credit in the colonies ; for, as what is 
allowed to be issued even on the greatest emergen- 
cies, is not a legal tender between man and man, I 
apprehend the conveniency and utility of it is quite 
taken away." He then adds : " The representation 
touching the state of your province, has not yet been 
read in council, owing possibly to some late changes 
in the ministry, the earl of Granville being declared 
president of the council, and the earl of Holder- 
nesse secretary for the southern department, in 
which America is included. I will carefully watch 
its progress and acquaint you therewith." His letter 
of the 29th of July following, has this clause : " I am 
in constant expectation of hearing that the represen- 
tation touching the state of your colony, will be 
taken into consideration ; upon which subject I am 
sorry to say that, as far as I can learn, it contains 
volumes of paper of which I am denied a sight, and 
can yet have no copy. Several rights and privileges 


claimed by the general assemblies of yom* colony, 
of which they have been many years in possession, 
are struck out ; and complaints are made oi particu- 
lar persons y which I was in hopes had long ago been 
dropped. I heartily wish the whole of this matter 
may not discompose the peace and tranquillity which 
had an appearance of being re-established in the 
colony. The affair of the Jersey line is not yet 
proceeded upon ; for carrying on which, I have 
received the remittance of one hundred pounds, men- 
tioned in your letter. I have now only to add, that 
I understand a commission lies prepared at the 
secretary of state's office, appointing Robert Hunter 
Morris, esq. to be Lieutenant-Governor of New- 
York." His letter of the 10th of August is this : 
"I am to acquaint you, that on the 6th instant, 
the lords of the committee of his majesty's most 
honorable privy council, entered upon the conside- 
ration of the reports of the commissioners for trade 
and plantations, touching the state and condition of 
the colony of New-York, and referred the same, as 
I am informed, for further consideration. Havins^ 
repeatedly applied to know whether, as agent of 
the colony, I might obtain a copy of this report, and 
of the papers accompanying it, (both which are very 
long,) and being given to understand there were 
orders against giving any copy, and that the matter 
would be taken up and considered as an affair of 
state, I believed it my duty to take the earliest 
opportunity of renewing that application. As soon 
as the report was read, I therefore wrote a letter to 
the secretary of the council, which he did me the 
favour to lay before their lordships of the committee, 


who, as I am informed, not having yet resolved 
whether they will allow a public hearing on the sub- 
ject matter of the report, and a copy of it being yet 
denied me, I must remain contented to watch its 
progress and to take their lordship's pleasure. If 
their lordships proceed herein as a council of state 
only, it will be from the orders and instructions that 
may be issued, that your colony will be able to judge 
of the principal points of the report : and if the 
regulations proposed do sensibly affect your colony, 
you will no doubt thereupon make such humble 
representations to the crown as you shall judge 
necessary, which must bring the whole at last to an 
open and public discussion.. Mr. Morris's commis- 
sion to be lieutenant-governor of your colony, lies 
yet incompleted." On the 4th of May, 1752, he 
writes thus : " The further consideration of the 
report of the board of trade, touching the state of 
your colony, has not been resumed in council since 
August last ; and I am still not permitted to have 
any copy or extract of it, though I continue in hopes 
that their lordships of the privy council will not 
come to any resolution thereupon, without hearing 
the parties that may be affected by it. Being thus 
deprived of the means of informing the house with 
certainty, in points that may be of great conse- 
quence, I can only, under these circumstances, take 
measures for their service as opportunities are given 
me, of which I will not fail to make the amplest 
use in the discharge of my duty. Nothing material is 
yet done in the affair of the boundary line between 
your colony and New-Jersey. The intended com- 
mission to Mr. Morris, as lieutenant-governor, h 


quite laid aside. I cannot conclude without express- 
ing my sincere wishes that a good understanding 
may be restored between the several branches of 
your legislature, and may subsist, for the general 
welfare and tranquillity of the colony." 

In this precarious situation of affairs, it could not 
subserve Mr. Delancey's popular interest to increase 
the indignation of government against the colony, 
the numerous families whose estates were affected 
by the Jersey claims, growing extremely jealous of 
any further broils between the assembly and the 
governor. Those contests, besides, were inauspi- 
cious to the success of his designs of obtaining the 
lieutenant-governor's place, by which he hoped to 
find an escape for himself and his friends, if Mr. 
Golden took the command of the colony as president 
of the council, an event which he could not turn his 
eye to without horror. It was therefore expedient, 
while Mr. Delancey's friends were negociating in 
England for the gratification of his ambition, to 
suspend hostilities against Mr. Clinton : and the 
reader now has the new key to the seeming inatten- 
tion of the assembly to that part of the governor's 
speech in October, 1751, requiring their conformity 
to his commission and instructions, to the governor's 
courage in the last dissolution, and the subsequent 
pusillanimity of the new assembly during the rest 
of his administration. 

Mr. Clinton furnished a fresh proof of the stability 
of his interest at court, by introducing a new mem- 
ber into the council. He had procured the royal 
mandamus for Mr. Bmith, in preference to colonel 
Morris, for whom some solicitations were made bv 

lilcJTORY OF i\EW-VOKK. i 4 i 

his brother, then in England, and before Mr. Oliver 
Delancey, whose sister was the lady of sir Peter 
Warren. Mr. Smith was sworn in on the 30th of 
April, 1753. The assembly was convened a month 
afterwards, at Jamaica, the capital being not yet 
free from the contagion of the small-pox. 

The speech proposes a revision of the colony 
laws, and the framing and passing a new digest, 
according to a model executed in Virginia, and now 
recommended to our imitation by the lords justices 
and the board of trade, to which some embarrass- 
ments in the researches for compiling the late 
representation in the latter, had probably given 

He assigns the true reason of meeting them at 
an unusual place ; declares it to be by the advice 
of the council, and in tenderness to the house ; 
professes his confidence in their honour and justice, 
for a due attention to the state of the Indian alliance, 
the repair of the northern fortifications, and the 
discharge of the colony debts ; applauds their late 
resolution to promote the arts and sciences, by 
establishing a seminary of learning, as worthy their 
diligent prosecution and most serious attention ; 
informs them of the intrusions upon the colony by 
our neighbours ; suggests the expediency of concert- 
ing measures respecting them, by a committee both 
of the council and assembly ; and promises readily 
and heartily to join with them in promoting the 
happiness of the colony. 

The assembly thanked him ; hoped that the new 
code of colony laws, then just published, would not 
be disapproved by the king ; testified their gratitude 

VOL. II. — ^ 


for liis regard to their safety in the convention at 
Jamaica ; and promised an immediate attention to 
matters laid before them. Not a single instance of 
the want of harmony now appeared. 

A committee of both houses met on the New 
England intrusions, and a bill was passed for 
appointing commissioners to prepare representa- 
tions upon them to the king's ministers ; a further 
sum was raised by lottery for the college ; the 
colony debt discliarged, and every message received 
and attended to ; money voted for fortifications ; 
large sums given for presents to the Indians ; the 
critical state of their friendship confessed ; and the 
governor implored, by an address, to visit and treat 
with them. Mr. Clinton being indisposed, con- 
descended to propose a treaty by commission, and 
to authorize such persons for this trust, as the 
council and assembly might nominate and recom- 
mend to him ; and colonel Johnson, such was the 
policy of the house, became the sole distributor of 
the presents, and the confidant of both houses. 

To such as knew the ofience taken at Mr. Clin- 
ton's patronage of this gentleman, and the obstacles 
raised to avoid the payment of his demands, it 
afibrded no small surprise to see a joint address of 
both houses, signed James Delancey and David 
Jones, requesting a treaty for appeasing the ill tem- 
per of the Indians, and declaring it to be the opinion 
both of the council and assembly, "that colonel 
Johnson is the most proper person to be appointed 
to do this service ; and we humbly hope your excel- 
lency will commissionate him." 

Towards the close of the session, which ended 


the 4th of July, and the last in Mr. Clinton's admi- 
nistration, he revealed the secret of his daily expec- 
tation of a successor, and his intention to return to 
England. It was extracted by their importunity 
for his making a journey to assuage the Indians. 

The commissioners appointed for defending the 
colony against the encroachments of Massachusetts 
bay* and New-Hampshire, were all members of the 
assembly; viz. David Jones, John Thomas, Paul 
Richards, William Walton, Henry Cruger, and 
John Watts ; and though the object of that act was 
a very important one, yet very little advantage was 
derived from it. 

The rise of the controversy with New-Hampshire 
was this : — Before the year 1741, that colony was 
considered as the tract granted to Mason and 
Gorges, and extending only sixty miles from the 
sea-coast, did not by many miles reach the river 
Connecticut. The commission to Mr. Benning 
AVentworth, governor of it, issued in that year, and 
declared his province to extend westward and north- 
ward, " until it meets with his majesty's other 
provinces." • 

On the peace of Aix-la-Chapelle in 1748, that 
governor conceived the desia^n of extendinsf his 
jurisdiction westward to twenty miles from Hud- 
son's river, because New- York had agreed with 
Connecticut to such a boundary on the east ; and 
Massachusetts had of late years intruded so far upon 
certain old patents of this province, extending to 
thirty miles east from that river. 

* In the first volume of this work, is inserted tiie report of Ihe council in 
March, 1753, on the pretensions of Massachns^tts hav. 


The country in the north-eastern corner of this 
colony was, before the late war, almost entirely 
unknown, and so exposed to the incursions of the 
enemy, especially after the erection of the fort at 
Crown Point, in 1731, that it contained scarce a 
single inhabitant when Mr. Wentworth began to 
grant it as a part of the province of New-Hamp- 
shire, in 1749. Then the quarrel arose. New- York 
insisted upon Connecticut river as her eastern 
boundary ; and after several letters had passed 
between Mr. Clinton and that governor, it was 
agreed, in July, 1750, to state their claims, exchange 
copies of their representations, and submit to the 
royal decision, it being understood that all interme- 
diate grants should be suspended. 

Mr. Wentworth, whose narrow views prompted 
him to greater activity, stated his claim, and 
despatched it in a letter of the 23d of March, 1750, 
without the least previous intimation to the governor 
of New- York ; and soon after, multiplied grants of 
the controverted territory, under the seal of New- 
Hampshire. This precipitation, which, by pressing 
private interest into the, maintenance of a point 
that might have been otherwise settled without 
difficulty, is the true origin of those disorders in 
that quarter of the country. New-York afterwards 
exhibited its title, when advised by the agent of the 
clandestine conduct of New-Hampshire ; and to 
support it, and repress the incursions of Mr. Went- 
wor til's patentees, was one of the objects Mr. 
Clinton had in view at the last meeting of his 
assembly. Nor could he omit the notification ; for 
the airent, upon the receipt of an extract from Mr. 



VVentvvorth's letter to the lords of trade, from the 
secretary to that board, who had procured time to 
consult his constituents, on the 18th of February, 
1753, wrote both to the governor and the speaker, 
and enclosed copies of the New-Hampshire appli- 
cation for running out the line he had set up for a 
partition between the two colonies. The sequel will 
show how much the unseasonable neglect of the 
rights of the colony at this juncture, was afterwards 
to be regretted. 





Mr. Clinton was at Flushing, in Queens county, 
where he had resided the whole summer, when sir 
Danvers Osborn* arrived to succeed him in the 
command, which was on Sunday, the 7th of October, 
1753. He was met at Whitehall by the council, 
mayor, and corporation, and chief citizens, and 
attended to the council chamber; and, in the absence 
of Mr. Clinton, took up his lodging at Mr. Murray's, 
whose wife was a daughter of governor Cosby, and 
a distant relation of sir Danvers' deceased lady, a 
sister to the earl of Halifax. Mr. Clinton waited 
upon him the next day, and they both dined at 

^ Mr. Charles, in his letter of the 11th of June, 1753, informed the speaker 
that sir Danvers was " a gentleman of great worth, a member of parliament for 
Bedfordshire, and brothnr-in-law to the earl of Halifax." 


an entertainment provided by the council. On 
Wednesday morning they assembled the council at 
the Fort, for administering the oaths, and then began 
the usual procession for reading the commission at 
the town-hall. The indecent acclamations of the 
populace, stimulated by the partizans of the late 
troubles, induced the old governor to take leave of 
his successor at a short distance from the Fort, while 
sir Danvers stalked along with the council and 
magistrates, rather serious than cheerful, amidst the 
noisy shouts of a crowded throng. 

After his return to the council chamber, he 
received the address of the city corporation, of 
which he had a copy, and with difficulty restrained 
his intention of begging the alteration of a passage 
in it, which he thought expressive of jealousy. The 
words were : " We are sufficiently assured that your 
excellency will be as averse from countenancing, 
as we from brooking, any infringements of our 
inestimable liberties, civil and religious." 

These particulars are mentioned with the more 
minuteness, on account of the tragical end to which 
this unfortunate gentleman was approaching. 

He told Mr. Clinton, with disapprobation of the 
party exultations in his progress to, and return from 
the town-hall, " that he expected the like treatment 
before he left the government." 

While at a splendid dinner, given to the two 
governors and the council by the corporation, there 
was every demonstration of joy. The city was 
illuminated, cannon were discharged, and two 
bonfires lighted up on the common, in the evening, 
^ir Danvers took no part in the general joy. He 


retired early in the afternoon, and continued at his 
lodgings, while the whole town seemed abandoned 
to every excess of riot. The last act of Mr. Clinton's 
administration was the delivery to Mr. Delancey of 
a commission to be lieutenant-governor. This had 
been done in the presence of the council, immedi- 
ately after he gave the seals to sir Danvers, and it 
contributed much, with the discovery now made of 
Mr. Clinton's letter to the lords of trade respecting 
the Jersey claim,* to the mad transports of the 
populace in the streets and commons. 

Sir Danvers rose early on Thursday morning, and 
before the family were about, had, alone, patrolled 
the markets and a great part of the town. He 
complained of being somewhat indisposed ; and at 
dinner said, with a smile, to Mr. Delancey, " I believe 
I shall soon leave you the government. I find myself 
unable to support the burden of it." He had convened 
the council in the forenoon, and appeared in some 
perturbation at their first assembly, especially when 
he found that Mr. Pownal, who had the key of his 
cabinet, was not within. He was desirous to show 
them his instructions. He informed them, that he 

* It was divulged at one of tlie hearings, on the 39th of May, and 5th of June, 
before the board of trade, after the objections by Mr. Forrester and Mr. Pratt 
(since the celebrated lord Camden) to the Jersey act, and to show, that the 
crown had, except some trifling quit-rents, no interest in the controversy. The 
contents of the agent's letter of the 12th of June, with the history of those 
debates, were now publicly retailed, and exasperated the New-York landholders 
near the contested line, for the bounds and reservations of their patents had been 
authenticated under Mr. Alexander's oath, with information concerning their 
vast extent, to make unfavourable impressions, as Mr. Clarke expresses it, upon 
the minds of the lords of trade ; " which (says he) may possibly remain." The 
author transcribed the report, of which Mr. Pratt was the penman, in the former 
volume, on which the Jersey act was repealed by the king. 


was strictly enjoined to insist upon the permanent 
indefinite support of government, and desired their 
opinions upon the prospect of success. There was 
a general declaration, that the assembly could not 
be brought to adopt that scheme. With a distressed 
countenance, and in a plaintive voice, he addressed 
Mr. Smith who had not yet spoke a word: — " What, 
sir, is your opinion?" — and when he heard a similar 
answer, he sighed, turned about, reclined against 
the window-frame, and exclaimed, *' then what am 
I come here for ?" 

In the evening he had a physician with him, talked 
of ill health, was disconsolate, and retired to his 
chamber, and at midnight dismissed his servant. 
While the house was preserved the next morning 
in the utmost silence, upon an apprehension that he 
was still asleep, an account was brought that he was 
hanging dead against the fence at the lower end of 
the garden. A vein was opened, but to no purpose. 

The malevolence of party rage would not at first 
ascribe this event to the insanity of the deceased ; 
but threw out insinuations, that he had been brought 
to his end by foul means, and that the criminals 
were some of those who could not suppress their 
joy to see Mr. Clinton a private character, and Mr. 
Delancev at the helm ; nor did these unjust sus- 
picions soon subside. 

The council were immediately summoned to Mr. 
Murray's house, where the tragedy was acted, and 
every circumstance inquired into, for the satisfaction 
both of his relations and the crown, and the vindica- 
tion of the party led by the new lieutenant-governor 

VOL. IT,— 24 


to such lengths against Mr. Clinton, who was then 
preparing for his voyage. 

On the top of the fence was a row of large nails 
inverted, to exclude thieves from the garden, over 
which he had cast a silk handkerchief tied at the 
opposite ends, and had elevated his neck to it by a 
small board, which was found near him over his hat 
upon the ground. 

After his servant left him, he had consumed a vast 
number of private, but no public papers, endorsed 
others, which he preserved; wrapped up a sum of 
money, borrowed since his arrival, and directed it 
to the lender. There was lying on his table a paper, 
written in his own hand, quern deus vult perdere, 
prills dementat, and the coroner's inquest believed 
his testimony, for they found him a lunatic. 

A man who, before the light of that day, passed 
the river in a boat under the fence, heard the noise 
of his heels against it in his last struggles. But 
Mr. Pownal's testimony surmounted every obstacle 
in the minds of all persons of candour. This gentle- 
man (since so well known in the characters of 
lieutenant-governor of New- Jersey, assistant to the 
earl of Loudoun, in the war of 1 756, governor of 
Massachusetts bay, commissary in Germany, and a 
member of the British parliament) came out as a 
guide and assistant to sir Danvers Osborn, and 
revealed the secret, that the baronet had been 
melancholy ever since the loss of his lady, whom he 
most passionately admired, and that he had before 
attempted his own life with a razor ; adding, that 
lord Halifax, by whose interest he obtained the 
government, had hopes that an honorable and active 


Station abroad might have detached him from the 
constant object of his anxious attention. As it may 
be interesting to know every thing relating to this 
unfortunate gentleman, and as Mr. Smith was at 
that time one of the council, and under no bias to 
the party calumniated at his death, and his diary 
kept with such secrecy that none of his children 
ever knew in his life time that he had one, for the 
sake of truth these passages are inserted, that the 
most scrupulous may be satisfied. 

" Wednesday^ lOtk October, 1753 — Sir Danvers 
Osborn published his commission, took the usual 
state oaths and that relating to trade, and received 
the seals from the hands of governor Clinton, who 
then (pursuant to an order from the duke of 
Newcastle to deliver the commission of lieutenant- 
governor before his excellency left the government, 
to James Delancey, esquire,) delivered the same in 
council accordingly, and sir Danvers took the oatli 
of governor and chancellor, or keeper of the great 
seal. The commission was afterwards published at 
the city-hall. The corporation treated the new 
governor and council at Burns's ; and the whole 
was conducted, and the day and evening spent, with 
excessive shoutings, two bonfires, illuminations, 
ringing of the church-bells in the city, drunkenness, 
and other excessive demonstrations of joy. 

*' Thursday, llth October — Sir Danvers appeared 
very uneasy in council. 

^^ Friday y 12th October — Alarmed by the door- 
keeper of the council, about eight o'clock, desiring 
me to come to Mr. Murray's, saying, ' the governor 
had hanged himself.^ Went, and found it awfully 


true. He had been found in Mr. Murray's garden 
hanging in his handkerchief, fastened to the nails at 
the top of the fence. On the first discovery, his 
body was found quite cold, and upon two incisions 
no blood issued. He was brought into the house 
and laid on the bedstead, where I saw him, a woeful 
spectacle of human frailty and of the wretchedness 
of man, when left to himself The council went 
from Mr. Murray's to the fort, where chief justice 
Delancey published his commission, and took the 
oaths in our presence, and received the commission 
of sir Danvers and seals and instructions, by order 
of council, from Thomas Pownal, esq. ; but took 
not the oath of chancellor, lest it might supersede 
his commission of chief justice, till this point be 
considered. His commission, after it was read in 
council, was published only before the fort gate, 
without any parade or show, because of the melan- 
choly event of this day. 

"The character of sir Danvers Osborn, baronet, 
of Chichsands, in the county of Bedford, as far as I 
could observe, having been every day since his arrival 
with him, was this : he was a man of good sense, 
great modesty, and of a genteel and courteous 
behaviour. He appeared very cautious in the word- 
ing of the oaths, particularly for observing the laws 
of trade enjoined by the statute of 7th and 8th 
William HI. He appeared a very conscientious 
man to all the council in that particular. A point of 
honour and duty, in ^foreseen difficulty to reconcile 
bis conduct with his majesty's instructions, very 
probably gave his heart a fatal stab, and produced 


that terrible disorder in his mind which occasioned 
his laying violent hands on himself. 

" He was found between seven and eight in the 
morning, hanging about eighteen inches from the 
ground, and had been probably some hours dead. 
His secretary told me, this morning, he had often 
said to him, he wished he was governor in his stead. 
He or somebody else desired me to observe the 
ashes in the chimney of his bed-room, as being 
necessary to be observed to excuse his producing of 
any papers that might be expected to be produced 
by him, and he showed me two pocket-books in 
which there was nothing remaining. He said, that 
when the copy of the episcopal church address was 
shown yesterday, he observed to sir Danvers, that 
he would have an opportunity here, by going to 
church, to act according to his own mind, and that 
he (the secretary) with the gentleman should wait 
on him. To which (says Mr. Pownal) he gave me 
this shocking answer, ^ you may, but /shall go to 
my grave.' 

"A committee of Mr. xllexander, Mr. Chambers, 
and the mayor, are appointed to take depositions 
concerning the facts and circumstances attending 
his death. The jury have found sir Danvers (as is 
said) nan compos mentis, Mr. Barclay^ was sent 
for into council to desire him to read the burial 
service. He objected, as the letter of the rubric 
forbids the reading it over any that lay violent hands 

. =^' This gentleman, who served as a missionary to the Mohawks, was, on tlie 
death of Mr. Vescy, in 1746, called to be rector of Trinity church in the raetro 
polis. His arrears of twenty pounds were provided for in the support bill of that 
year, and there has been no provincial allowance since that time towards the 
nropa;Tation of Christianity amorvg^ the Indians^ 


on themselves. Agreed in council, that the meaning 
ought to be regarded more than the words. I said, 
qui hccret in liter e, h(cret in cortice^ and if the jury 
on inquest found sir Danvers non compos, his corpse 
had as much right to christian burial as the corpse 
of a man who had died in a high fever. This seemed 
to satisfy Mr. Barclay, coming from me, seeming 
worth more of his regard, than if it had come from 
another.* He said he had not any scruples of 
conscience, but he desired to avoid censure, as we 
have people of different opinions amongst us. 

*' Sabbathy Wth October, 1753. — Last evening 
attended the funeral of sir Danvers Osborn, as a 
bearer, with five others of the council, and Mr. 
Justice Horsmanden, and Mr. Attorney-General ; 
and this day, in the old English church, heard a 
sermon from Hebr. 10th chap. 24th verse — ^And let 
us consider one another, to provoke unto love and 
to good works. ^ " 

Mr. Clinton had no sooner given up the reins 
than he retired to the west end of Long Island, 
from whence he embarked ; but not till he had 
suffered the keenest mortification under the late • 
unexpected vicissitudes ; for he not only heard 
himself execrated, and saw his enemy advanced and 
applauded, but was a witness to the ungrateful 
desertions of some of those he had raised and 
obliged. He had, nevertheless, the spirit to reject 
some insidious advancements made by Mr. Delan- 
cey towards a reconciliation ; and thus parting foes, 
that artful politician, who could not win him by 

* Mr. Smith was a member of the presbyterian congreffation in communion 
with the church of Scotland. • 


blandishment, resolved to parry his resentments 
and enervate his testimony, by loading him with 
disgrace. Thus he cut him out work when he 
arrived in England for the defence of himself. 
He sailed in the Arundel about the beginning of 
November. Easy in his temper, but incapable of 
business, he was always obliged to rely on some 
favourite. In a province given to hospitality, he 
erred by immuring himself in the fort, or retiring 
to a grotto in the country, where his time was spent 
with his bottle and a little trifling circle, who played 
billiards with his lady, and lived on his bounty. 
His manner of living was the very reverse of that 
requisite to raise a party to make friends. He was 
seldom abroad ; many of the citizens never saw 
him ; he did not even attend divine worship above 
three or four times during his whole administration. 
His capital error was gratifying Mr. Delancey with 
a commission, which rendered him independent 
and assuming, and then reposing equal confidence 
in Golden, who was interested in procuring his 
recall, or rendering the country his abhorrence. 
He saw that event, and to prepare for it, ventured 
upon measures that exposed him to censure. Mrs. 
Clinton prompted her husband, whose good nature 
gave place to her superior understanding, to every 
plausible device for enhancing the profits of his 
government. He sometimes took money for offices, 
and sold even the reversions of such that were 
merely ministerial. He set the precedent for the 
high fees since demanded for land patents, and 
boldly relied upon the interest of his patrons to 
screen him from reprehension. He became after- 


wards governor of Greenwich hospital. It was a 
shrewd observation made by colonel Choat to the 
author, at Sheffield, in May, 1755, on the controversy 
line between this colony and the Massachusetts bay, 
that Mr. Clinton was of all others the man we 
should have wished for our governor ; for his bottle 
and a present, he would have granted you every 
thing within the sphere of his commission ; but by 
joining Delancey, you became the dupes of private 
ambition, and brought your colony, through the 
Newcastle interest, into disgrace with the crown. 
Mr. Clinton's accounts for expenditures, in conse- 
quence of the duke's orders of 1746, amounted to 
eighty-four thousand pounds sterling; and it was 
supposed that the governor returned to England 
with a fortune very little short of that sum. 

The ambition and strife of Colden and Delancey 
gave rise to the new instruction, which arrived here 
without any previous intimation, for the ministry 
had eluded the vigilance of the agent, who so late 
as the 11th of June, informed the speaker, that the 
representations of the lords of trade, on which it was 
undoubtedly founded, was still unproceeded upon 
in council. 

The thirty-ninth article recited that great disputes 
had subsisted between the several branches of the 
legislature, the peace of the province had been dis- 
turbed, government subverted, justice obstructed, 
and the prerogative trampled upon ; that the assem- 
bly had refused to comply with the commission and 
instructions respecting money raised for the supply 
and support of government, had assumed the dis- 
posal of public money, the nomination of officers, 


and the direction of the militia and other troops ; 
that some of the council, contrary to their duty, alle- 
giance and trust, had concurred with them in these 
unwarrantable measures ; and, therefore it enjoined 
the commander-in-chief to endeavour to quiet the 
minds of the people, to call the council and assembly 
together, and in the strongest and most solemn 
manner to declare the king's high pleasure for their 
neglect and contempt, to exact due obedience, to 
recede from all encroachments, to demean them- 
selves peaceably, to consider without delay of a 
proper law for a permanent revenue, solid, indefinite, 
and without limitation, giving salaries to all gover- 
nors, judges, justices, and other necessary officers 
and ministers of government, for erecting and repair- 
ing fortifications, annual presents to the Indians, and 
the expense attending them ; " and, in general, for all 
such other charges of government, as may be fixed 
or ascertained." It then permits temporary laws for 
temporary services, expiring when these shall cease; 
but such laws, also, are to be consistent with the 
prerogative royal, the commission, and instructions. 
It also directs, that all money raised for the supply 
and support of government, or for temporary emer- 
gencies be applied to the services for which it was 
raised, no otherwise than by the governor's w^arrant, 
with the advice and consent of the council, not 
allowing the assembly to examine any accounts; 
and afterwards it commands, that if any counsellor, 
or other crown officer in place of trust or profit, 
shall assent, advise, or concur with the assembly 
for lessening the prerogative, or raising or disposing 
money in any other method, the governor ^\\n\\ 

VOL. IT. — 25 

VM HISTORY OF new-York. 

suspend the oflender and report it to the board of 
trade. By the 47th, the governor was prohibited 
from assenting to a law whereby any gift was made 
to him by the assembly, in any other manner than 
above-mentioned; 48th allowed him to take a salary 
of twelve hundred pounds sterling per annum ; 49th, 
to receive a further sum, provided it be settled on 
himself and his successors, or during the whole of his 
administration, and that within a year after his arri- 
val ; 50th required the three last to be communicated 
to the assembly at the first meeting of the assembly 
after sir Danvers Osborn's arrival, and to be entered 
in the registers both of the council and assembly. 

Upon the supposition that the council and assem- 
bly would obstinately resist the execution of these 
commands, of which sir Danvers Osborn could not 
doubt, he must have perceived that his administra- 
tion would not only prove destructive to his private 
fortune, but draw upon him the general odium of 
the country, and excite tumults dangerous to his 
personal safety. 

The council at this period were, Messrs. Golden, 
Alexander, Kennedy, Delancey, Clarke, junior, 
Murray, Holland, Johnson, Chambers, and Smith. 
Of these, Mr. Alexander and Mr. Smith, as the 
original projectors of the modern scheme of an 
annual support ; and Mr. Delancey and Mr. Murray, 
as the subsequent fautors of that measure ; and Mr. 
Justice Chambers, who held his office, as well 
as the chief justice, during good behaviour, must 
have immediately lost their places at the council 
board ; and Mr. Secretary Clarke residing in Eng- 
land, the governor's reliance in that branch of the 


legislature could only have extended to Mr. Colden, 
Mr. Kennedy, the collector of the customs and 
receiver-general of the royal rents, Mr. Rutherford, 
a captain of one of the independent companies, Mr. 
Holland, mayor of the capital, and Mr. Johnson, then 
colonel of the militia, and residing in the Indian 
country: nor was it certain that even those four last 
mentioned would have preferred their offices to 
their patriotism and the abhorrence of the multitude : 
and when the sanction for infusing obedience came 
to be applied to the assembly, the tumult would 
extend, not only to the depluming of nine of the 
twenty-seven from their rank in the militia, but 
many others who were judges and justices of the 
inferior courts, to say nothing of their relations and 
friends, and other public officers, in a variety of 
stations, in all parts of the province, who might 
interfere in supporting them, and fall under the 
character of their advisers : besides it was imagined 
by some, that the instruction was designed for the 
removal also of the judges, and to bring the question 
to a trial — whether Mr. Clinton had authority to 
give them freeholds in their places ? — a point of law 
ultimately cognizable before his majesty in privy 
council ; and because attended with dangerous con- 
sequences, not improbably one of the motives of 
administration in raising Mr. Delancey to the place 
of lieutenant-governor, that the ambition of the 
demagogue might be pre-engaged into the service 
and aims of the ministrv. 





But the death of sir Dan vers Osborn dispelled 
the impending storm ; and doctor Golden, who had 
retired to the country in disgust, cheated by his 
friends and disappointed by the administration, and 
whose only consolation, under the scoff of his 
enemies and the general contempt of the people, 
was the vain belief that he had spread a net to 
entangle his old rival, was soon after doubly morti- 
fied to see him elude it by his craft, and the deep 
laid plan itself vanish like a bubble. 

Mr. Delancey's path was a plain one. He must, 
indeed, resign the hope of a salary for one, or 
perhaps, two or three years, but the arrears would 
not be lost if he could save his station- He had to 
preserve that assembly — rebuke them publicly, for 
not obeying the instructions — and privately confede- 


rate with them, not only to remonstrate against them, 
l)ut to impeach Mr. Clinton, and blunt the edge of 
his accusations. And while this farce was acting, 
he had nothing to dread from the council, none of 
them approving of, while others were averse to, the 
indefinite support ; Mr. Golden excepted, who be- 
came irreconcileable to the late governor by the 
private scheme to exalt Mr. Morris, and, therefore, 
not disposed, nor, by his retreat, in a situation, if 
willing, to tell any thing on the other side of the 
water for the gratification of Mr. Clinton's revenge. 
When Mr. Delancey had been sufficiently regaled 
by the incense of the most fulsome adulation, pro- 
moted by his friends, from all ranks and classes, to 
preserve his popularity on one side of the water, and 
render it useful to him and his party on both, he 
convened the asse/nbly, and on the 31st of October, 
before Mr, Clinton's departure, made a speech, la- 
menting the death of sir Danvers as a public loss, 
because he had birth, a liberal education, and a 
d^istinguished character; communicated a copy of 
the obnoxious instructions, that they might thus be 
informed of his majesty's displeasure ; asked pro- 
vision for repairing the city fortifications and the 
trading house at Oswego ; recommended the pre- 
servation of the Indian alliance ; condemned the 
farming of the excise ; advised to train the people 
to arms by a well regulated militia law ;* applauded 
the late act for inspecting flour ; urged to the pre- 
vention of frauds, in the exportation of beef, pork, 

* A militia law is generally favored both by governors and the assembly, sis it 
serves the latter in elections, and the former by gratifying the members at 
whose instance the militia officers are ordinarily appointed 

198 msTORy of ]\evv-york. 

and other commodities : and, to give appearance of 
zeal at court, earnestly pressed it upon them, to 
frame their bills for supporting the government in 
such a manner as the royal instructions required ; 
observing, very sagaciously indeed, ** that by our 
excellent constitution the executive power is lodged 
in the crown," but unfairly adding, (since, as a 
lawyer, he knew his doctrine asserted in general 
terms to be unsound) that the legal course for abuses 
of power was by application to the crown ; which 
\vas an abuse of their confidence, public officers 
being in many instances indictable by a grand jury, 
and that the annual support had been substituted in 
this province, to supply the want of relief in some 
cases for which the laws of England prescribe an 

The assembly, after condoling the death of the 
late governor, exult in the succession by a person 
of his known abilities and just principles, and 
declare themselves extremely surprised to find the 
colony had been so maliciously misrepresented : they 
boast of their attachment to the crown ; are at a 
loss for instances of disorder, except in the obstruc- 
tion or perversion of public justice by ?»Ir. Clinton's 
orders, to stop the course of the law in Dutchess 
county — his appointing judges and justices of ill 
fame and extreme ignorance, one prosecuted for 
perjury whom he rewarded, they say, with the office 
of assistant judge, and others who were so illiterate 
as not to be able to write their names ; that instead 
of assuming the direction of the militia, they had 
declined meddling with it ; they had not the most 
distant thought of injuring the just prerogatives of 

111«TUKV OF i\EW-VOKK. 199 

the crown ; that the present mode of raising and 
issuing public money had been practised for sixteen 
years, and they hoped for his assent to bills accord- 
ing to the usual course ; that nothing should be 
wanting to promote the king's service and render 
his administration easy and happy. 

He echoes back their testimony in favour of the 
loyalty of the people, having, in riding the circuits 
for twenty years, observed not an instance of disaf- 
fection, and promises to remove such officers as they 
complain of; but, with respect to his assent to their 
bills, he engages his concurrence, if they are framed 
in such a manner as his majesty expects. 

They proceeded to a variety of acts, in the fullest 
confidence of their being passed ; and, for form sake, 
among the rest sent up the annual support bill to 
the council, and stimulated them for information 
concerning its progress, but were answered imme- 
diately that it was rejected.* 

He had every proof of their willingness to oblige 
him. Upon a message, with lord Holdernesse's 
letter, advising of an intended encroachment of the 
French and Indians, they resolved to assist the 
neighbouring colonies ; to resist force by force, in 
case of an invasion ; carried on sham process for 

* On the 29th November, twelve days before the council's negative, Mr. Jones 
writes to the agent ; " You vi?ill doubtless, before this reaches you, hear of the 
sudden and surprising death of sir Danvers Osborn, and of the government s 
being thereby devolved on Mr. Delancey, our chief justice. Under this adminis- 
tration we conceived great hopes, that all former disputes would have subsided, 
but, unluckily for this unhappy colony, the instructions sir Danvers brought 
with him, witli respect to the issuing bills for raising and issuing public money, 
are such, that I think no general assembly will comply with them ; and, there- 
fore, I apprehend that no law will be passed for the application of public money 
thlB session, nor governor or council recede without permission."' 


punishing a printer, who had republished in a 
newspaper that part of their journals containing the 
thirty-ninth instruction, only the substance of which 
he was ordered to reveal. They also voted him a 
salary of fifteen hundred and sixty pounds, a larger 
sum than ever was given to any former lieutenant- 
governor, and equal to Mr. Clinton's allowance ; 
eight hundred pounds more for Indian presents ; 
one hundred and fifty pounds for his voyage to 
Albany ; four hundred pounds for fuel and lights to 
the garrison ; his arrears as chief justice to the 12th 
of October ; and after the rejection of the support 
bill, bound themselves for the expenses of his voyage 
and the presents he might distribute to the Indians. 
While the lieutenant-governor, on the other hand, 
conspired with them in appointing council to defend 
a quantity of powder in the province stores, seized 
by Mr. Kennedy, who was a friend to the late 
governor, and struck at for seizing it as contraband ; 
passed fifteen popular laws, and continued the 
session till they had perfected a complaint to the 
king, and a representation to the lords of trade, 
against Mr. Clinton ; tenderly remarking before 
they parted, that they " must be sensible they had 
not acted in compliance with his majesty's royal 
instructions ;" and ** that he hoped, after consulting 
their constituents, they would at their next meeting 
bring with them such dispositions as would effectu- 
ally promote the public service, and then proceed 
with a due regard to what his majesty justly expected 
from them, and thereby recommend themselves to 
his royal grace and favour." 

The address is a short declaration to the king of 


their abhorrence of those groundless imputations of 
disloyalty, most falsely and maliciously "reported 
to him." " Surely none but men destitute of justice, 
honor, and veracity, would represent us in a light so 
distant from truth." It concludes with warm pro- 
fessions of loyalty and affection, roundly affirming, 
" that there is not a native of the colony who would 
not cheerfully hazard his life, fortune, and all that is 
dear to him in the defence of his person, family, and 
government." But their complaint to the plantation 
office is a verbose, angry attack upon the late 
governor, and is so artless and unguarded as to 
reproach their lordships by their representation to 
the king. 

Relative to the late disputes, they assert that they 
arose from the mal-administration of Mr. Clinton, 
who had maligned the colony to escape the cen- 
sure himself deserved ; it incautiously alleges that, 
during Mr. Clarke's time, the peace of the colony 
was undisturbed, no discord between the branches 
pf the legislature, no accusations of the assembly's 
assuming the executive or trampling upon the pre- 
rogative ; that there were no animosities in the first 
three years of Mr. Clinton's administration, though 
the public measures were then what they had been 
since. They then offer to prove that Mr. Clinton 
was interested in privateers, and hired out the 
cannon given by the king for the use of the colony ; 
that Saratoga was lost by his withdrawing the troops 
to gain benefits by his independent company, and to 
the loss of the lives of many otliers of the king's 
subjects ; that he was the cause of the Indian disaf- 

VOL. II. — 26 


fectioii, by embezzling a great proportion of the 
presents raised to secure their friendship ; that he 
demanded subsistence and provisions for two Indian 
companies, under colonels and other officers of his 
appointing, when no such companies ever really 
existed ; that he granted extravagant tracts of land, 
and exacted twelve pounds ten shillings for every 
thousand acres, in the remote parts of the colony, 
" besides reserving considerable shares in the grants 
to himself, by inserting fictitious names," to the 
discouragement of settlements, and the weakening 
of the northern frontiers, expensively and difficultly 
defended ; that he obstructed the course of justice, 
by letters to the judges and other officers of Dutchess 
county to delay proceedings, and to the sheriff not 
to execute process in causes merely civil, and by 
secreting an information filed by the attorney-gene- 
ral against a person presented by the grand jury 
for perjury, and afterwards making that very man 
an assistant judge of the court of common pleas, 
and a colonel of the militia of Westchester county, 
though informed by a member of the legislature ; 
that he openly sold offices, civil and military, and the 
reversions of some ; that he made frequent, long, 
and causeless prorogations, and sufiered the duties 
for the support of government to expire ; that he 
^' commissionated^^ ignorant and illiterate officers, 
some not able to write their names, and one to a 
colonelcy in a northern county, suspected of being 
attached to the French interest during the war, 
and misrepresented the dispute to their lordships, 
touching the limits of this and the province of New- 
Jersey : and these they assert to be the true grounds 


of the dissatisfaction during his administration. 
They alleged, that the charge of assuming the 
direction of the militia is absolutely false, and that 
for several of his last years he never mentioned the 
militia to the assembly. 

On the great subject of the mode of support bills, 
the reader shall have their own words. "We further 
beg leave to assure your lordships, that as it is our 
duty and interest, so it is our hearty inclination, to 
do every thing we can conceive that may contribute 
to his majesty's service and the good of this colony, 
which we look upon as inseparably connected ; and 
therefore should have raised a provision for the sup- 
port of government, in the manner signified by that 
instruction, but that the raising a support of many 
years has, by long experience, been found to be 
much more hurtful to his majesty's interest, by 
giving perpetual occasion for disputes and conten- 
tions between governors and assemblies, than the 
method pursued for these sixteen or seventeen years 
last past. Had we indeed the happiness to be under 
his majesty's care and inspection, we should think 
it our duty to raise a support in the manner insisted 
upon in that instruction ; but, unhappily for us, that 
is not our good fortune : we are under governors 
appointed by his majesty, at a great distance from 
him and his immediate inspection, and who, as your 
lordships must be acquainted, having no inheritance 
in the province, very often consider the government 
as a post of profit, which they hold by an uncertain 
tenure ; and therefore, as it regards not them in 
what condition they leave the province upon their 
removal, instead of applying the moneys raised for 


the necessities of government to the uses they 
were designed, have only been anxious to invent 
ways and means to convert as much as possible to 
their own private use and benefit. That this has 
been tlie case of most governors here, the assem- 
blies of this province have, by the many contentions 
which have subsisted on this head, been but too 
sensible of, to the great and manifest detriment of 
his majesty's service, and the good of this province ; 
which sufficiently convinces us, that it is not for the 
interest of his majesty and for the public good of this 
colony, to raise a support in any other manner than 
has been done for sixteen or seventeen years past, 
whatever it may be for the private interest of a 

They then accuse Mr. Clinton, and probably with 
the agent's" hint, of inattention to the Indians who 
were at New- York in June last, v/hile the assembly 
were sitting at Jamaica ; and add, what does not 
appear in the journal, that the speaker, by letter to 
Mr. Clinton, on the order of the house, besought 
him to promise them a meeting at Albany, a distri- 
bution of presents, and a redress of grievances ; 
that he would make Hendrick, the chief sachem of 
the Mohawk's, a present, and that the house would 
provide for these expenses and the maintainance of 

* In his letter of the 6th September, 1753, there is this clause; "I cannot 
avoid acquainting you with the concern it gave me to read at the board of trade, 
the minutes of a late conference at New- York with seventeen Mohawk Indians, 
who went away not only expressing their dissatisfaction, but resentment. As 
their errand appears to me to have been principally about land, I am in hopes they 
had no authority to speak on public subjects, such as the hatchet and rod, and 
that they will be discountenanced therein by the Six Nations. I shall be anxious 
to know the success of the commissioners deputed to treat with them, being very 
sensible of ihe critical posture of affairs with respect to the Indians and others.'^ 


those Indians ; that the governor, nevertheless, dis- 
missed them without any thing ; and they were on 
the way on foot, with their baggage on their backs, 
when met by a gentleman from Albany, who, out of 
his own pocket, provided them a passage by water, 
and the house had reimbursed him, with thanks ; and 
this they urged as a proof both of his neglect and 
contempt of the Indians. 

As a vindication of themselves from the charge 
of remissness respecting Indian and other affairs, 
they add, that they had subjected the colony to a 
tax of above eighty-one thousand pounds, without 
deriving, as some other colonies had, any recom- 
pense from the crown. The whole concludes with 
their favourite expression of a readiness ** to hazard 
their lives, fortunes, and all that is dear to them, 
against all the king's enemies whatsoever. '^'^ 

The transmission of the address to the kincf was 
entrusted to the lieutenant-governor, and a copy 
with the impeachment, enclosed by the speaker to 
Mr. Charles, on the 13th of December, the day after 
the session, in a letter containing the following 
passages : — 

" As I hinted before, no bill for the application of 
money has passed either the council or governor, 
and I apprehend that none will pass, until there be 
a countermand of orders from your side of the 
water. We have, however, contrived to procure a 
remittance for you of two hundred pounds sterling 
which we hope will discharge your engagements. 
As to the Jersey affair, we think it his majesty's 
right to ascertain the limits of his colonies ; and if 
the stations once settled with you, we shall soon 


agree about running the lines. We expect it will 
not be long before the colonies of Massachusetts 
bay and New-Hampshire will come upon the stage 
in the same respect. It seems highly necessary 
that his majesty should ascertain the boundaries of 
all his colonies, to prevent disputes among his sub- 
jects here, for we apprehend they will never agree 
among themselves." Again : ** That party spirit 
which appeared among us during Mr. Clinton's 
administration, seems to be vanished, and there 
appears a great inclination to unanimity among all 
the branches of the legislature. You have herewith, 
the remaining parts of the minutes of our house in 
this present session, and the whole of last session. 
You have also herewith a representation from us, to 
be laid before the lords commissioners for trade and 
plantations. Your own discretion will indicate to 
you how you are to manage the affairs. We expect 
to hear from you as quick as possible. Take par- 
ticular notice of our address in our session at 
Jamaica, on Nassau island, where we press Mr. 
Clinton to meet the Indians at Albany." By one of 
the acts of this session, the importation and passing 
of counterfeit British halfpence, and the very pos- 
sessing them, was prohibited under severe penalties, 
power given to search for them, and all disputes 
respecting them trusted, under forty shillings, to the 
summary hearing and decision of one magistrate, 
and above that sum, to him and two freeholders of 
his choice. There was at this time an inundation 
of copper money, but it was not thought safe and 
expedient to venture a law against any but the 
adulterated coin. To bring it, however, into dis- 


credit, without giving umbrage to Great Britain, 
the house resolved, on the last day of this session, 
that they would proceed at their next to ascertain 
the value of halfpence and farthings. The mer- 
chants in the confederacy immediately gave their 
vote its effect, by subscribing an agreement not 
to receive or pay this species of money, but at 
fourteen copper halfpence to the shilling ; and the 
practice prevailed universally, after one inconside- 
rable riot by the mob, in which the lieutenant-gover- 
nor assisted the magistrates in apprehending the 
chief rioters, who were punished for the ineffectual 
tumult they had raised in the capital. The policy 
of multiplying such summary tribunals, was ques- 
tioned by the zealous advocates of the old trial by 
jury ; and there were some who animadverted upon 
the lieutenant-governor's agency respecting this 
species of coin, as what would in Mr. Clinton have 
been represented worthy of reprehension from the 

In the month of March, 1754, nearly six hundred 
pounds were raised, towards promoting a spirit of 
inquiry among the people, by a loan of the books to 
non-subscribers. The project was started at an 
evening convention of a few private friends : Messrs. 
Philip Livingston, William Alexander, (afterwards 
known by the title of the earl of Stirling,) Robert R. 
Livingston, William Livingston, John Morin Scott, 
and one other person. To engage all parties in 

* It was not till this day, (12th December) that mortgages were subjected to a 
public registry for the prevention of frauds ; but the act now passed, though a 
useful one, did not reach all the mischiefs intended to be prevented. In disputes 
concerning their property, ihejirst registered is to bejirst paid. 


the subscription, it was carried first to the lieute- 
nant-governor and the council. The trustees of the 
institution were annually eligible by the subscribers, 
and had the disposition of the contribution, with 
the appointment of the librarian and clerk. Every 
proprietor was to pay the yearly sum of ten shillings; 
and thus a foundation was laid for an institution 
ornamental to the metropolis, and of utility to the 
whole colony ; for the remote object of the pro- 
jectors was an incorporation by royal charter, and 
the^ erection of an edifice, at some future day, for 
a museum and observatory, as well as a library. 
Hitherto it consisted of valuable books in our own 
language only, which were deposited in the town- 
hall, under the care of a librarian. The number, 
by the annual subscriptions, is at pesent considera- 
bly increased ; but governor Tryon lately gave the 
trustees a charter, which it wanted to invite to the 
donations necessary to accomplish the liberal aim 
of the promoters of the subscription, who found 
some obstacles at first from the low state of science, 
and the narrow views and jealousies of sectarian 

About this time the continent was alarmed by the 
attempts of the French to erect forts on the Ohio. 
Virginia, as most immediately concerned, took the 
first measures for defence. Mr. Dinwiddie, their 
governor, resolved to fortify the pass of Mononga- 
hela, and called upon the sister colonies for aid. 
Circular letters arrived soon after from the ministry, 
requiring a congress at Albany, for treating with 
our Indian allies, and concerting a united plan to 
defeat the French aim of engrossing the interior 

11I8TORY OF i\EW-YORK. 209 

country, and, by a chain of forts, to restrict the 
British settlements to the sea-coasts, or at some 
distant day, to acquire the exclusive dominion of 
the continent. A design this of vast magnitude, 
but not difficult to accomplish, if France had at 
that day the sagacity to have preceded her fortifi- 
cations by the less suspicious transportation of a 
few thousand emigrants from her populous do- 
minions in Europe, to the rich and fertile banks of 
the lakes and rivers, of which, to our shame be 
it remembered, we had no knowledge, except by 
the books and maps of her missionaries and geo- 

These events had no ill aspect upon the resist- 
ance of the assembly to the scheme of an indefinite 
support ; and yet they met on the 9th of April, 
1754, in ill temper, because they had no advices to 
flatter them with the hope of gratifying their 
revenge upon the late governor ; and while some 
conceived that manifestations of liberality and zeal, 
others were of opinion that testiness and parsimony, ' 
would be most likely to procure the wished-for 

The lieutenant-governor very naturally adopted 
the sentiments of the first class, and bore with some 
impatience the contradictions of the other, which 
was inauspicious to that favour which he meant to 
cultivate with his superiors, and render consistent, 
if possible, with his popular dominion. 

The speech apprised them of the French designs; 
of the spirit of Virginia ; of her request for aid in 
the common cause; of the royal expectation, signi- 
fied by the earl of Holderness ; and demanded not 

VOL, ii»— 27 


only supplies for transporting two of the indepen- 
dent companies to Virginia, fortifying the frontiers, 
strengthening Oswego, and treating with the six 
cantons, but that they should take a part in every 
expense conducive to the public utility. 

The assembly admitted that the defence was a 
common concern ; applauded the vigour of Virginia; 
but complained of the desolations of the last war, 
and the expenditure of eighty thousand pounds, for 
a part of which they were still in debt and under 
taxes, and of the burthen of erecting and support- 
ing their own fortifications in New- York, Albany, 
Fort Hunter, Schenectady, and Oswego; reminded 
him of their vote of credit at the last session, for 
one thousand pounds to our own Indians, and his 
expenses at the intended treaty ; declared that they 
are able only to forward the two regular companies; 
and, after painting the designs of France in terms 
adapted to raise the popular resentment, they con- 
clude with applauding the energy and success of 
his half year's administration ; for which he thanked 
them, but with renewed importunities for the sup- 
plies, that they might the more effectually recom- 
mend the colony to the crown. 

They then voted a thousand pounds to Virginia, 
four hundred and fifty-six pounds for an additional 
garrison at Oswego, and allowed for Indian presents 
and the expense of the treaty, eleven hundred and 
twenty pounds : they engaged to reimburse the 
necessary charge of repairing Oswego, and to bear 
their part in the erection of new forts on the 
frontiers for the common defence. But when he 
reminded them of their former resolution to repel 


force by force, and that it had raised the expecta- 
tions of the crown, they evasively resolved, that it 
did not appear clear to them that any of the king's 
colonies were invaded ; which drew from the lieu- 
tenant-governor a message to inform them that the 
French forts were erected in a country of the Eries, 
a nation extirpated by the confederate cantons, who, 
by the treaty of Utrecht, are to be considered as 
the subjects of Great Britain ; and he ventured a 
conjecture that the French forts were constructed 
within the limits of Pennsylvania.* 

They could not, however, be induced to enlarge 
their contribution to Virginia ; and had already sent 
up the bill to raise the sums voted for supplies, 
without any regard to the thirty-ninth instruction. 
The council, perceiving that the sums were issuable 
by the treasurer upon the receipts, and not by 
warrants from the lieutenant-governor, with their 
consent, asked a conference, to which, as a money 
bill, the assembly could not consent. 

In this exigency Mr. Delancey passed the bills 
that were ready, and prorogued the assembly till 
the next day; when, after artfully informing the 
whole province by a speech, that the council had 

* Can there be a clearer proof of our infancy or negligence, than to find the 
legislature at a loss to adjust a geographical question respecting a country so 
near our old maratime settlements ! And does it not reflect disgrace upon the 
whole nation, that no attempt has been since made to explore the exterior parts 
of the continent, at the public expense ? We have added nothing to the French 
discoveries by our conquest of Canada ; though it would have become so opulent 
a people to have penetrated the wilderness before this day, not only to determine 
its breadth and explore its wealth, but open new objects to the view of moral 
as well as natural philosophy. This has since been done by sir Alexander 
M'Kenzie, from Canada, and by Clarke and others, by the authority of the 
United State!?. 


rejected their bill because they thought it their duty 
to insist on a conformity with the royal instructions, 
ho declared his hopes that they would make the 
necessary provision in a manner that might lay the 
council under no difficulty, and urged both unani- 
mity and despatch. 

To this they answer in an address, asserting that 
the delay was not chargeable upon them, their bill 
being agreeably *' to a method long pursued, settled 
with, and solemnly agreed to, by the late governor 
Clinton ;" but promise on *^ this pressing occasion, 
in pure regard to his majesty's service and the 
interest of the country, to endeavour to frame a bill 
in such a manner as may obviate the objections 
lately made." 

And as an evidence of their concord with the 
lieutenant-governor, which they doubtless wished to 
have known, they now sent him a previous copy of 
the address, for he gave it an immediate written 
reply ; and proceeded, before the renovation of the 
bill of supplies, to vote the articles of which it was 
to consist, but left out the aid of one thousand 
pounds to Virginia. 

Thus a door was opened for other messages and 
addresses, for expressing his and their zeal for 
the king's service ; for, on the 4th of May, he 
animadverted upon the resolves, and observed, that 
since they had lately voted the one thousand pounds 
as necessary, the omission of that bounty would 
now be disadvantageous to their reputation : and 
after holding up the council once more to the public, 
by repeating that they were moved by their attach- 
ment to the instruction in rejecting the late bill, he 


beseeches them to reflect " how far a delay or 
disappointment of this service may be chargeable 
upon them." 

The address of the same day, of which he again 
had a copy, now roundly asserts, what was only 
hinted at before, that the council, and not they, are 
answerable for the delay ; lamented that they could 
not gratify their inclinations consistently with the 
interests of their constituents ; denied their omis- 
sion to be a breach of their engagement, because 
they do not estimate their contribution to Virginia 
among the promised provisions^ conceiving as they 
do, that they are not indispensably necessary : they 
sullenly conclude with a request that they may be 
dismissed, to go home to their families. 

The governor had now an opportunity to argue 
upon the extent of their promise, which he did in 
another message of the same afternoon, and with 
some seeming resentment, and a menace of repre- 
senting their conduct to the king. But without 
waiting for the effect, as if it was calculated more to 
recommend himself to the king's ministers than to 
persuade them, who wanted some excuse to the 
people for complying with the instructions to serve 
him, immediately after that message, he passed the 
bills,^ and broke up the session by a prorogation on 
the 4th of May. 

One design of these altercations seems to have 
been, to give the lieutenant-governor a dominion 
over the council, the majority of whom were not in 

* One under the title of " An act for the payment of several sums of money 
for the use and security of this colony ;" and another, " To prevent nuisancep 
in the metropolis." 


the interest of that party of which we had so long 
been a leader. Before the conference proposed on 
the bill lost by the prorogation, the lieutenant- 
governor, thinking the council might be influenced 
by the emergency, came in amongst them, and 
advised their yielding to the humour of the assembly. 
One of them shrewdly asked him, "What then will 
become of us ?'' He answered with a smile, " I will 
suspend you, according to the instruction, and then 
pass the bill, and restore you to your places." But 
what confounded the politician, was a proposal 
of Mr. Alexander and Mr. Smith, to escape the 
dilemma by lending the money which the bill was 
to raise, on a reliance upon the generosity of the 
public. He left them, saying that he would himself 
make the loan, if he did not succeed with the house. 
This prorogation gave place for originating a second 
bill, which passed into a law. 

It was at this session that Mr. Delancey intimated 
his design of running a temporary line between this 
and the province of New-Jersey, asking the house 
to defray the expenses of it : nor is it a mean proof 
of his influence, that he in the same message 
requested a further sum for adjusting the partition 
with Massachusetts bay — not by the commissioners 
appointed by the late act, but of his own nomi- 
nating, with the advice of the council, who were to 
meet others from the Massachusetts bay at the 
intended congress at Albany. 

Mr. Charles had, the 4th July, 1753, informed 
the speaker of the report of the board of trade 
against the Jersey act ; that " their lordships 
demanded to know of the parties, whether they 


had any proposals to offer for running the lines and 
ascertaining the boundaries, which their lordships 
said was necessary to be done, for the peace and 
quiet of both governments. On both sides it is 
offered to join in a commission from thence under 
the great seal. I have requested that they may be 
disinterested persons taken from the neighbouring 
colonies ; but the solicitor for the Jersey interest 
thinks this method will bring on a heavy expense. 
The matter lies over for further consideration. On 
the 23d of the same month, the agents of New- 
Jersey waited upon the lords commissioners for 
trade and plantations, and declared that, as Mr. 
Morris, to whom the conduct of the act for running 
the division line was committed, had his powers 
only from the proprietors of the eastern division of 
Jersey, he could not take upon himself to join in a 
commission for ascertaining the boundaries of the 
whole province. A declaration of this kind was no 
more than what might be expected from those who, 
having missed their principal aim, would be well 
content that this affair should sleep possibly another 
thirty- four years, till some favourable juncture should 
offer for reviving it. But I hope I shall be excused 
for offering, with all submission, my humble opinion 
that now is the time for pushing those proprietaries 
in their turn." 

The reader, therefore, will perceive that the 
lieutenant-governor's message could neither dis- 
serve him with the ministry nor the house ; who, on 
the 25th of April, agreed with him in the expe- 
diency of temporary lines both with our eastern 
and western neighbours, and pledged their faith 


for their proportion of the expense, without the least 
exception to his change of the commissioners in the 
ordinary exercise of the prerogative of the crown. 

But the late mock quarrel of the lieutenant- 
governor and the assembly, did not entirely elude 
the suspicion that the latter had made some con- 
descensions more to serve him than the colony : 
and whether it is to the same or some other motive, 
that the agent's letter to Mr. Jones, of the 30th of 
January, 1 754, was long concealed from his fellow- 
members and the public eye, is left to the reader's 
conjecture. It was in this that he owned the receipt 
of their memorable impeachment of the late gover- 
nor, and ventured some hints unfavourable to the 
towering hopes of the party in power. "I have 
delivered in (says he) at the board of trade, your 
representation touching the thirty-ninth article of 
instructions to sir Danvers Osborn, and am very 
apprehensive that that matter will take up a long 
consideration, as it must come before the king in 
council, where, at the same time, it is not improbable 
that the representation of the board of trade, touch- 
ing the state of your colony, will likewise come 
under deliberation. I hope time will be given to 
the colony to answer the charge contained in the 
preamble of that instruction, which, it is said here, 
can be supported by facts taken from the public 
transactions of the general assembly. I also appre- 
hend that the board of trade will acquit Mr. Clinton 
with the instances of his mal-administration men- 
tioned in that representation, and that your house 
will be called upon to prove the assertions they 
have made. It will be proper to have the proofs 


111 readiness." He wrote a confidential letter of 
the same date, the contents of which can only be 
guessed at from Mr. Jones's answers of the 1st of 
June ; the whole of which is herewith transcribed. 
" In your private letter of the 30th January, you 
inquire, * In case we should be called upon for our 
proofs against Mr. Clinton, how could we prove 
that two Indian companies never existed, whose 
muster-rolls were sent home on oath ?' If such 
companies ever existed, it was certainly with uncom- 
mon secrecy, since, by the strictest inquiry, no 
footsteps of any such thing has hitherto been disco- 
vered. We should be glad to have copies of these 
muster-rolls, if possible to be obtained, which may 
probably lead us to further discoveries. The person 
Mr. Clinton made an assistant justice of, when here, 
and had a presentment of perjury against, was one 
Israel Honeywell, of Westchester county; and when 
Mr. Clinton was made acquainted with it by the 
representatives of that county, he sent to the attor- 
ney-general for the information, and would never 
return it to him again. I am perfectly well satisfied 
with the reasons which you give for not insisting 
on a public hearing on the thirty-ninth article of 
the instructions ; and shall be very well pleased with 
Mr. Clinton's declining a vindication of his conduct, 
as he must then stand condemned in the judg- 
ment of every impartial person. As to the alteration 
you suggest may be made to the thirty-ninth article 
of the instructions, it appears to me to be so very 
small, that I am persuaded no general assembly of 
this colony will consent to it even in that shape. I 
hope the next governor that comes (in case no 


mitigation be made before) will bring with him 
instructions less vigorous, and better calculated for 
the interests of America and his own ease and 
quiet." Thus for the first letter. The second, of the 
same date, is this : — " When I wrote to you last, 
the house was sitting, and I then acquainted you 
that you might soon expect to hear from me. The 
session is now ended, and by our votes you will 
perceive that we have done nothing towards the 
expedition to Ohio, though we had that affair much 
at heart. You will find that the obstruction arose 
from the thirty-ninth article of his majesty's instruc- 
tions to the late sir Danvers Osborn ; and this, I 
apprehend, will always be the case, as long as the 
instruction continues to have a being. You doubtless 
have already, or soon will hear from Pennsylvania, 
what progress the French have made on the Ohio, 
which not only makes them masters of all the fur 
nations of Indians, but intimidates those which we 
call ours, and puts it into their power at any time 
to harass our southern colonies from that quarter, 
as they do us and our eastern neighbours from 
Crown Point ; and unless some vigorous resolution 
be taken, I fear poor English America will soon fall 
a prey to the boundless ambition of France. I have 
very lately received your letters of the 30th of 
January,^ via Philadelphia, and shall communicate 
them to the house at their next meeting. I expect 
you will hear from our lieutenant-governor, touching 

* They were not disclosed to tlie house till the 16th of October, 1754, Uiough 
tlie assembly sat in the spring till the 4th of May, and again from the 20th to the 
29th of August, and passed a law. Nor is it certain that these letters were pro- 
duced even in October, the entry showing that the speaker laid several letters 
before the house without mentioninsf their dateSc 


die Jersey afiair of the line, and also from the 
commissioners appointed for that purpose, touching 
Massachusetts bay, &C. I have nothing further to 
add at present, but that the house seems to be 
entirely well satisfied with your conduct, <fec." 

The ensuing summer will ever be remembered for 
the first congress of deputies from sundry of the 
colonies, for their common defence. Albany was 
the place appointed, and the time the 14th of June, 
Mr. Delancey, as the only governor who attended, 
took the chair, and the rank of the gentlemen who 
composed that assembly being adjusted, they sat in 
the following order : — On the right, Mr. Murray and 
colonel Johnson, two of the council members of this 
colony ; then the commissioners of Massachusetts 
bay, Mr. Wells, Mr. Hutchinson, colonel Chandler, 
colonel Partridge, and Mr. Worthington ; Mr. 
Wyburn, Mr. Atkinson, Mr. Ware and Mr. Sher- 
burn, from New-Hampshire ; and from Rhode- 
Island, Mr. Hopkins and Mr. Howard. Opposite 
to these, on the lieutenant-governor's left, were two 
others of the New- York council, Mr. Chambers 
and Mr. Smith ; then the Connecticut delegates, 
lieutenant-governor Pitkin, major Wolcott, and 
colonel Williams; for Pennsylvania, Mr. John Penn, 
Mr. Peters, Mr. Norris, and Mr. Franklin ; and 
colonel Tasher and major Barnes, for Maryland. 
Mr. Delancey, on the 29th, opened the treaty with 
the Indians, who had been tardy in assembling, by 
a speech preconcerted by the commissioners, and 
the presents were distributed in the name of all the 
colonies represented at that meeting. 

It is sufficient to observe, on the whole, that the 


Indians, when dismissed on the 11th of July, were, 
or affected to be, well pleased, and engaged their 
co-operation against the designs of the French ; and 
yet one of these woodland kings, who chalked out 
a sketch of the interior forests, rivers, and lakes, 
v/ith a clear discernment of their relations, dropped 
the jealous but judicious observation, that Louis- 
burgh was one key of the inland country, and 
New- York 'another, and that the power which had 
both, would open the great chest, and have Indians 
and all. 

The main objects of the commissioners were, a 
compact for the united exertions of all the colonies 
in future, and a representation to his majesty for 
the establishment and execution of the plan. 

To this end it was proposed, that one general 
government should be formed, under which each 
colony should retain its present constitution, except 
in the subsequent instances, directing a change ; 
that the general government be administered by the 
president-general appointed and supported by the 
crown, and a grand council elected by the respec- 
tive colony assemblies : that when an act of 
parliament was passed for these purposes, the 
provinces should choose their delegates, to form 
the council, in the following proportions : 

Massachusetts bay , 7 

New-Hampshire 2 

Connecticut 5 

Rhode-Island 2 

New-York 4 

New-Jersey 3 


Pennsylvania 6 

Maryland 4 

Virginia 7 

North-Carolina 4 

South-Carolina 4 — 48 

To meet first at Philadelphia, on the call of the 
president-general, as soon as conveniently may be 
after his appointment; that the council be triennial, 
and every interim vacancy, by death or resignation, 
supplied at the next sitting of the assembly of the 
colony he represented ; that after the first three 
years, the number of delegates to be regulated by 
their contributions to the public treasury, yet so as 
to be never less than two to a colony, nor more than 
seven ; that the conventions of the council to be 
annual or oftener, on their own adjournments, or the 
call of the president-general, upon emergencies, 
with the written consent of seven, with due previous 
notice to all the members : that they choose their 
own speaker, and be neither dissolved, prorogued, 
nor continued to a longer session than six weeks, 
without their consent, or the special command of 
the crown : that the wages of the council be each 
ten shillings sterling per day, eundo, manendo, et 
redeundo, at twenty miles for a day's journey ; the 
assent of the president-general, to be necessary to 
all acts, and that it be his duty to carry them into 
execution ; that he, with the advice of the council, 
hold all Indian treaties affecting the general interest, 
and make peace or war with the Indians, laws 
regulating the Indian trade, all purchases from them 
for the crown, of lands not now within anv colony. 


or when reduced to more convenient dimensions ; 
that they grant out such new acquisitions, nomine 
regis, reserving a quit-rent for the general treasury ; 
raise and pay soldiers ; build forts ; equip vessels to 
ffuard the coasts on this side of the ocean, lakes, 
and great rivers ; but not to impress men in any 
colony, without the consent of its own legislature : 
that, for these purposes, they make laws, lay and 
levy general duties, imposts or taxes, equal and just, 
considering the ability and other circumstances of 
the several colonies, and such as may be collected 
with the least inconvenience, rather discouraging 
luxury than loading industry with unnecessary 
burdens : that they may appoint a general treasurer, 
and in each government a particular one ; and 
either draw for all sums upon the general treasury, 
or upon each particular treasury, as they find most 
convenient : yet no money to be issued but by joint 
order of the president-general and council, except 
on particular appropriations where the president is 
previously empowered by an act : that the general 
account to be annually settled and reported to every 
assembly ; that the quorum to act, with the president, 
to consist of twenty-five members, having one or 
more from a majority of the colonies ; that their 
laws not to be repugnant, but as near as may be 
agreeably to the laws of England ; to be transmit- 
ted to the king in council for approbation, and if not 
disapproved within three years after presentation, to 
remain in force : that the speaker of the council, on 
the death of the president, officiate in his stead, 
until the king's pleasure be known : that all military 
commission officerKS for the land or sea service, under 


this general constitution, be nominated by the presi- 
dent, with the approbation of the council ; and all 
civil officers by the council, with the approbation of 
the president ; but a vacancy in any province, in a 
civil or military office, to be supplied by the go- 
vernor of the province where it happened, until the 
pleasure of the president and council can be known : 
that the military and civil establishments of the 
several colonies remain in their present state, this 
general constitution notwithstanding ; and that on 
sudden emergencies, any colony may defend itself, 
and lay the accounts of expenses thence arising 
before the president-general and council, who are 
to allow and pay as far as they judge just and 

Except Mr. Delancey, every member consented 
to this plan, and qualified as he was rather for short 
altercation than copious debate, he made no great 
opposition. Besides, he had objections not to be 
started before auditors of too much sagacity not to 
discern the motives which excited them, and who 
were too unbiased to suppress any disreputable and 
unpopular discoveries. In so unusual a situation, 
he was conscious of an awkward inferiority, and 
found that every effort to resist the scheme only 
contributed to forward it, for his exceptions and cavil 
were either obviated, answered, or overruled. But 
a single member could be influenced, and he was 
not able to proselyte any body else except Mr. 
Murray, who had a great merit as a lawyer ; but, 
unless a question in that profession arose, he was 
either mute as a fish, or confused, slow, and super- 
ficial — a man of pride, without ambition, or a 

2^4 lllSrOKV Ob' i\KW-YOJ<K. 

single talent for intrigue — cold, distant, formal, and 

But the want of unanimity was of no other 
consequence than the impairing of Mr. Delancey's 
reputation; many, judging from the controversy 
with Mr. Clinton, had conceived him to be most 
inclined to the popular branch of the constitution, 
but now discovered that he had his eye to the other 
side of the water. The plan adopted would be 
neither, as he apprehended, to the relish either of 
the nation in general or to the servants of the crown. 
They ascribed his unnecessary opposition to an 
impatience for distinction, prompted by ambition, 
which threw him off his guard. Being the only 
governor, amidst a number of rival demagogues, 
his situation could not but be disagreeable to him. 
But the scheme, when offered, was not understood 
as approved by any other governor on the continent. 
Too inconsiderable to hope for so illustrious a seat 
as the president's, they could not brook the exalta- 
tion of private citizens to stations in the grand coun- 
cil, inflating their vanity, and enabling them not only 
to traverse their interests at court, but lessen their 
authority. That a scheme, begot in the frights of 
the delegates at the repulse of the Virginians, under 
colonel Washington, on the 3d of July, (the news 
of which came to Albany, while they were assem- 
bled,) was disrelished by some of the colonels, who 
perused the proposal with less discomposure, gave 
scope to their jealousies, and eyed the power it 
meant to establish with horror ; while multitudes 
of individuals jarred in their sentiments, as they 
were more or less attached to monarchical or 


republican principles ; another sort increasing the 
discord, by their scoffs at a model so dissimilar to 
the British constitutution, which theory, experience, 
and habit had taught them to admire as the most 
perfect of all human inventions; in a word, their 
dread of the French excited the people only to 
speculate ; it did not rise high enough to curb a 
diversity of sentiment ; and if it had, that very 
unanimity here would have furnished an argument 
on the other side of the Atlantic, to blast a design 
considered by administration as accelerating an 
event dangerous to the union and stability of the 

It was in this month also, that a conference was 
held between Mr. Murray, Mr. Smith, Mr. Benjamin 
Nicoll, and Mr. William Livingston, under a com- 
mission from this colony, with the aforenamed 
commissioners of Massachusetts bay, concerning 
the line of partition between the two provinces ; but 
the result was little more than a discovery of the 
proofs on which they respectively relied ; a handle 
for fresh encroachments from Massachusetts bay, 

* The plan was drafted in a coraKiittee consisting- of one commissioner from 
each colony, Mr, Smith represented New- York. The main object was to 
reduce the colonies to one head and one pulse. The eastern colonies were most 
ardent for the union, except Connecticut, who was too jealous of the power of 
the president. Each colony took a copy, under a promise to exert their 
influence upon their constituents, for its establishment by an act of parliament. 
The report gave rise to many debates, and especially respecting the liinds for 
supporting this new government. A duty on spirits, and a general stamp duty, 
were contended for ; but it was finally agreed to cast the president on the crown, 
and the council on the colonies, with a trifling allowance, that none but men of 
fortune might aspire to that station. To repress Mr. Smith's earnestness for 
the scheme, the lieutenant-governor hinted to him, that Massachusetts acted 
with an aim to procure the president's chair for their governor, and predicted, 
as he well might, that it would not be much encouraged by New- York. 

VOL. II. — 29 


and mutual complaints to the crown. Massachusetts 
certainly meant nothing, for she gave powers to 
settle a final line, though pre-admonished that our 
commissioners were to come only with authority to 
conclude a temporary boundary. They boasted of 
their prior possessions, asserted them to be ancient, 
and offered to be restricted by the distance of 
sixteen miles from Hudson's river. 

Desirous as soon as possible, to meet the assem- 
bly, and, besides his other designs, to make suitable 
impressions respecting the transactions of the 
congress, the lieutenant-governor began a session 
on the 20th of August, when he mentioned the 
defeat of colonel Washington on the east side of 
the Ohio, as within the undoubted limits of his 
majesty's dominions, and exacted their promised aid 
to Virginia, and preparation for the defence of this 
colony ; the erection of a fort in the Senecas' 
country, on the tract purchased by Mr. Clarke ; the 
prohibiting of rum to the Indians; a more extensive 
militia act ; and laid before them the commissioners' 
plan, after a suggestion, that from a persuasion 
that the assemblies were not disposed to join in 
vigorous measures, the commissioners would not 
consider his proposal of erecting forts on the 
frontiers, but preferred an application to parliament 
for establishing their scheme for a union. 

A contribution to the defence of Virginia and 
Pennsylvania, was expedient to humour the minis- 
try ; and to do it with reluctance, raised the credit 
of the lieutenant-governor, gratified the parsimo- 
nious spirit of the people, and prevented suspicions 
of a sacrifice of the colony to the interests of the 


predominant party. The house, therefore, presented 
an artful address of a controversial complexion 
quoting passages from the lieutenant-governor's 
speech, to refute his demands, and justify their 
refusal of any donations. They confessed that the 
colonies were reciprocally bound to a common 
defence ; but they add, there may be instances of 
colonies already so distressed as to want aid, which 
therefore, are not bound to afford help. To apply 
this, they paint their own exposed situation in his 
own language, and ask him whether Virginia and 
Pennsylvania have built forts and fortifications, and 
whether they are daily called upon for the repara- 
tion and support of them. 

They then promised to give something, but after- 
wards lament that they had an open frontier. The 
late war, in which they had expended near one 
hundred thousand pounds, was a melancholy proof 
of it ; and how to find a cure to the evil, they knew 
not. The other colonies derived strength from their 
settlements in townships ^ and close order, whilst our 
lands were granted away in patents, almost without 
bounds or number ; and though we could erect forts 
and block-houses, they would serve no end — uncul- 
tivated tracts being not the objects of protection, 
but man's life and industry. After adding their 
testimony, that he had been faithful to his trust in 
the distribution of the Indian presents, they beg 
leave to return to their families, and promise a due 
attention to every matter he had recommended in 
the autumn of the year. 

Would any man without doors, and not in the 
secret, believe, what is a fact, that they had already 



that very morning, voted a gift of five thousand 
pounds to their fellow-subjects in Pennsylvania and 
Virginia ? Mr. Delancey gave them more than 
thanks ; he confesses the truth of their representa- 
tions, and applauding their generosity, declared his 
confidence that they would, at their next meeting, 
raise ample supplies ; and, by promising to promote 
the settlement of townships, converted his speech 
into a proclamation, which opened a wide field of 
business and profit in the land office ; for this new 
method, more consistent with the spirit of demo- 
cracy than the king's instructions, drew emigrants 
from the crowded colonies of New-England ; and 
subsequent governors, interested in the innovation, 
have followed his example, to the increase of our 
inhabitants, and the extensive difi*usion of the 
enterprising spirit and principles of those eastern 

The session continued until the act for issuing 
the five thousand pounds was passed,* and a vote or 
two entered, to stimulate him in procuring temporary 
lines between this and the provinces of Massachusetts 

* We assure you Ibat it was with no small difficulty that means have been 
found for giving that sum. The legislature find themselves so embarrassed by 
the forms of the instructions, that it is with the utmost difficulty any money can 
be disposed of for the public service, however urgent or necessary. Mr. Jones's 
letter to the agent, 29th August, 1754, was perfectly silent respecting the call of 
congress, as Mr. Delancey had predicted. Mr. Smith, confined at home, attending 
the death-bed of his wife, and Messrs. Alexander and Murray being absent in 
,Tersey,the council tben present consisted only of Mr. Kennedy, Mr. Holland, and 
Mr. Chambers, who were prevailed upon to depart from the instructions by a 
mode perfectly new. The act directed the treasurer to pay the five thousand 
pounds to the lieutenant-governor; and after retaining three hundred and 
forty-eight pounds, expended in the victualling and transportation of the two 
independent companies which sailed in June, tbe residue was to be delivered, on 
order, to the order of the governor of Virginia, with the advice of his council. 


bay and New-Hampshire ; and another respecting 
their quarrel with Mr. Kennedy, the collector, con- 
cerning the seizure of the gunpower, well calculated 
as the cause was then depending in the admiralty, 
to put Mr. Morris, the judge of that court, under 
some kind of awe, as well as to gain one vote in 
council for the bill then depending there. The 
house sent a public message, to know what the 
lieutenant-governor had done towards forwarding a 
representation to his majesty respecting the seizure, 
and were satisfied with his answer, that the sentence 
was not yet passed, which they doubtless had 
already known from their own council, who all 
resided in the capital, and one of them, Mr. Nicoll, 
cousin-german, and near neighbour to Mr. Watts, a 
member for the city. This incident would be 
trifling, if it did not mark, what is worth attention, 
the spirit of the day.* 

When the house met again in October, they knew 
that Mr. Chief Justice Morris had left England in 
the character of governor of Pennsylvania,! from 
their agent ; that their vote to repel force by force, 
on the secretary of state's letter had been uni- 
versally applauded : that the Jersey proprietors had 
appealed to the privy council against the report of 
the board of trade ; that he had offered to join in a 
commission for running the line ; that the stations 
could not be ascertained therCf conformably to the 
favourite but erroneous idea of Mr. Delancey, till 

* Mr. Kennedy was receiver- general of the quit-rents, and had given some 
offence by the importunity of his memorial to the lieutenant-governor for his 
recommending a law to enforce the payment of the quit -rents. 

t Ha arrived in the Mermaid frigate, at New-York, September 12th, 1754. 


the controversy concerning the construction of the 
grants, and what the true boundaries were, was first 
adjudged on a commission ; that this was the mode 
also for setting our eastern limits, and that he 
wished to be ready with the names of the commis- 
sioners of our choice ; that he kept a watch on the 
great men of that country, respecting the affairs of 
the colony, but that nothing was determined as to 
the representation ; that the address to the king had 
been sent up to the council, with a letter from the 
board of trade, and that it would lay over till their 
report was made upon the representation ; that the 
board of trade had of late affected great privacy, 
and were so jealous of the inquiries of the agents, 
as to give strict orders respecting information, which 
they think improper, and had got a poor clerk dis- 
missed from the council office, for giving intelligence 
about one of their reports : adding, " We have here, 
some who have expressed so much warmth about 
the publication of the instruction, that they will 
spare no pains to blacken the colony, in order, if 
possible, to justify that measure, should the affair 
come to a public hearing. There are others who, 
I believe, are inclinable to push the instruction by a 
more moderate course to the succeeding governor, 
and to drop the inquiry about Mr. Clinton's manage- 
ment, by directing that successor to report how the 
affair stands. The parliament will be dissolved 
soon Our sugar islands make a shining figure at 
present, there being about fifty persons, who, from 
their estates and connections there, are at the same 
time using the proper means to have seats in parlia- 
ment. I fear we shall soon have them pushing not 


only for the continuance, but the extension of that 
monopoly they now enjoy." Again ; "I take occa- 
sion of showing how much your colony has to do at 
home, if a war is to break out, and how unable you 
are to do that, and give assistance to others, after 
the heavy expense you have sustained in the late 
one ; that the interior system of your own government 
is unhinged by the instruction, which restrains you 
from providing the usual support, and continuing 
the taxes necessary for that end. T hope Mr. 
Delancey has touched upon this matter, because the 
present state of affairs will contribute more to get 
you rid of this restraint than any other argument 
whatever. The complaint of the Virginia assembly, 
about the pistole fee demanded by their lieutenant- 
governor, was last week heard and rejected ; and 
the day after, Mr. Randolph, the attorney-general, 
who came hither to prosecute that complaint, was 
told at the board of trade, that his majesty had no 
further occasion for his services. I am heartily 
sorry for the juncture of time in which this rejection 
and dismission have happened. Much has been 
said about the warm votes of the assembly, and 
their assuming a power to make use of public 
money to support their complaint. No nomination 
is made of a governor for your colony, and until 
that is done, other matters will stop, unless the 
present exigency of affairs determines the ministry 
to let the assembly proceed to provide as usual for 
the support of the colony.' 


* Vide Mr. Charles' letters to Mr. Jones, of the 7th and 8th of March, 8th 
of April, and 27th of June, 1754. 


Nor was the prospect of internal harmony so 
encouraging to Mr. Delancey as at the commence- 
ment of his administration. Mr. Clinton had a few 
friends who favoured him, not so much for the sake 
of his cause, as from a jealousy that the popularity 
and ambition of his adversary endangered personal 
safety, or obliged to an humiliating insignificance 
and a base state of cringing submission. His ac- 
cession to the command induced to that partiality 
which was necessary to reward the services of his 
tools ; and the want of means to gratify the expec- 
tations of others, increased the number of the 
discontented. His incaution respecting the institu- 
tion of the college, enlisted many others on that 
side ; and the oil of religious zeal being poured 
upon the coals, kindled a flame, neglected at the 
beginning, but in its consequences destructive of 
his popularity, and unfriendly to his repose all the 
rest of his life. 

When divers sums had been raised by public 
lotteries for founding a college, they were, by an 
act of the legislature, in November, 1751, delivered 
over to the custody of a set of trustees, consisting 
of the eldest councillors, the speaker, the judges of 
the supreme court, the mayor of the metropolis, the 
province treasurer, James Livingston, Benjamin 
Nicoll, and William Livingston, esquires, whose 
trust was to take care of the principal and interest, 
and all future additions, until disposed of by the 
legislature. They were afterwards empowered to 
draw five hundred pounds a year more, for seven 
years ensuing, out of the treasury, into which it had 
flowed as a duty of excise ; and then they were to 


begin a course of instruction, under masters of their 
electing for their new seminary. 

Soon after the first of these acts, the wardens and 
vestry of Trinity church, by Mr. Barclay, their 
rector, offered a part of the estate of their opulent 
corporation in the suburbs of the capital, for the 
erection and convenience of the college : this was so 
early as the 8th of April, 1752; and in autumn, 1 753, 
Dr. Johnson, the episcopal minister of Stratford, in 
Connecticut, was invited to take the president's 
chair, and Mr. Whittlesey, a presbyterian minister 
of New-Haven, to serve under him, as second 
master of the new institution. 

The churches of other denominations soon took 
the alarm, suspecting that the episcopal persuasion 
intended to engross the government of the college ; 
and the press began daily to represent the impolicy 
and injustice of devoting funds raised by all sects for 
a common use, to the dominion of one. 

They were no longer in doubt than till the spring 
of this year, when, on the 16th of May, Mr. William 
Livingston discovered that his fellow-trustees were 
bent upon applying to the lieutenant-governor for a 
charter under the great seal. The plan of its 
government being exhibited in a draft then laid 
before the board of trustees, that gentleman pro- 
tested against their proceeding without the authority 
of the whole legislature, to whom they were re- 
sponsible for their fidelity ; but the other trustees 
would not suffer the entry till four days afterwards, 
on their approving a petition which the lieutenant- 
governor had consented to receive ; the design being 
avowed, of excluding every man from the president's 

VOL, II. — 30 


chair who was not in communion with the church of 
England, and introducing the common prayer-book 
for the religious exercises of the college. 

The lieutenant-governor laid this request before 
the council for their advice, and the grant passed 
against the opinions of Mr. Alexander and Mr. 
Smith, who assigned their reasons in a protest on 
the council books. Mr. Delancey himself, who 
either conceived its foundation illiberal, or un- 
friendly to his popularity, after fruitless endeavours 
to dissuade the projectors from exacting the fulfil- 
ment of a promise they had extorted, ordered the 
seal to be put to the charter with some hesitation, 
and to the general dissatisfaction of every other 
religious persuasion in the colony, to whom, in point 
of numbers, the episcopalians did not constitute 
the proportion of one-tenth. 

It therefore concerned the governor and his party, 
especially as the inquietude occasioned by the irrup- 
tion of the French and Indians upon Hosicke and 
Senkaick above Albany was general, to improve the 
ensuing session for securing the favour both of the 
crown and the people ; and the autumn session was 
therefore no sooner commenced, than two popular 
bills were introduced^ — one to restrain prosecutions 
by information, and another to enlarge the power of 
justices of the peace, by enabling them to decide in 
civil causes to the value of five pounds. 

While the assembly were pondering how to fulfil 
their engagement before the late adjournment in 
August, Mr. Delancey urged them to several popular 
laws ; supplies for new works at Albany and the 
frontiers ; the discharge of the demands of public 


creditors, and particularly of that to colonelJohnson, 
with whom he was reconciled. A few days after- 
wards, he made further requisitions for purchasing 
a glebe, and erecting a church for the missionary 
to the Mohawks: and for the crown, proposed a 
law, with the specious title of rendering the reco- 
very of his majesty's quit-rents easier, and "to 
compel those (says he) who hold large tracts of 
uncultivated land, to a speedy settlement ;" and, last 
of all, added a request for bedding to the troops in 
garrison at Albany. 

They proceeded to vote the arrears of salaries 
with the second sum of one hundred and fifty 
pounds for his extraordinary expenses at the late 
Indian treaties ; when he was obliged on the 21st 
of November, to communicate a disagreeable letter 
from the lords of trade, which totally disconcerted 
their design of passing a bill for these debts, and 
compelled Mr. Delancey to talk a language which, 
from the mouth of Dr. Golden, would doubtless 
have produced a vote that he was an enemy to the 

Their lordships approved the council's negative 
to the late application bill, and observed that an 
annual revenue may be employed to the purposes of 
wresting from the crown the nomination of all 
officers whose salaries depend upon annual appoint- 
ment, and of disappointing all such services of 

* The speaker's letters of the 14th November, and 17th December, show that 
there was a design of paying the debts and providing for the year, the instruc- 
tion notwithstanding. In the first, he excites his hopes of the discharge of his 
demands, and a future supply; and in the last, informs him that the bill for 
paying the public creditors, as well as that for the annual support, went up, but 
were stopped by the council, contrary to his expectations. 


government as may be necessary even to the very 
existence of the colony ; declared they were at a 
loss to conceive what other purposes this point, so 
strenuously insisted on, of granting the revenue 
only from year to year, can serve ; for if it is 
imagined that the method of establishing a revenue 
by annual grants, is the only one by which the 
province can be secured against misapplications on 
the part of the governor, or other officers of the 
crown, it will be found to be a mistake ; that it is 
strict appropriation which produces such security, 
and not the present mode of granting the revenue 
annually, which of itself is of no effect at all, and if 
directed to the above purposes, which the assembly 
themselves would not allow. They inform the 
governor, that they have no objections to checks 
and penalties for preventing and punishing misap- 
plications; but add, that if the assembly persist, 
by the means of annual grants, either to attempt 
arresting from the crown the nomination of offi- 
cers, or any other executive part of government, on 
disappointing the most essential services of the 
province, unless such pretensions are complied with, 
though they may have succeeded in such attempts, 
either by the weakness and corruption of governors, 
or by taking advantage of the necessity of the 
times ; " yet these attempts are so unconstitutional, 
so inconsistent with the interests of the mother 
country, as well as of the crown, and so little tend- 
ing to the real benefit of the colony itself, that it 
will be found they flatter themselves in vain, if 
they imagine they can ever give them a stability 
and permanency. I hope, therefore, (continued Mr. 


Delancey,) you will take these weighty reasons into 
your most serious consideration, and provide a 
permanent revenue for the support of government, 
in such a manner as may put an end to any dispute 
on that head." But he had it also in charge to 
inform them, that he could no longer consent to any 
emissions of paper money as a legal tender, nor to 
any bill for this species of money, though no tender, 
without a suspending clause till the king's pleasure 
could be known ; and he desires the house to con- 
form to these directions. 

If he knew, at that time, of the ill success of 
their address against Mr. Clinton, his reasons for 
concealing it are obvious * 

This produced an address, disclaiming all inten- 
tion to abridge the executive, though they would 
not recede from the new mode ; and a declaration, 
that they could not construct forts without a further 
emission of paper, nor would they consent to that, 
unless those bills were made a legal tender. They 
therefore request him to represent the case of the 
colony to the king ; engage to provide for its de- 
fence, when he is unembarrassed by instructions ; 
and give him their promise to provide for erecting 
a fort to the northward of Albany. 

The governor, in the reply, professes his satis- 
faction in their assurances that they mean no en- 
croachments on his majesty's authority, and gliding 
tenderly over their answer, only asks whether the 
annual support will not have the effect apprehended; 
joins in their testimony that there can be no forts 

^ See Note K, 


without issuing more bills ; informs them of what 
they well knew, that the late act of parliament 
against the paper money in the eastern colonies, 
was made at the instance of the London merchants, 
injured by depreciations for want of funds to can- 
cel the emission; subjoins what the assembly should 
have witnessed, that the value of our bills, by our 
superior care, was not such as they had been 
elsewhere nine for one ; and, upon the whole, 
proposed an emission of forty thousand pounds, 
for fortifications, to be sunk bv a tax of five 
thousand pounds per annum, commencing in 1757, 
when the present taxes were to cease ; and to such 
a bill he will consent, if there is a clause inserted 
to make the paper no valid tender for a debt con- 
tracted in Great Britain. 

It required some courage to venture this hint; for 
the merchants in the British trade were instantly 
alarmed with the prospect of ruin, through the 
scarcity of silver and gold to discharge their 
immense debts: but their clamors were suddenly 
appeased by a set of resolves — that laws with 
suspending clauses, might expose the colony to 
ruin before the king's pleasure could be known ; 
that bills not tenderable, would be useless ; and 
that to make them a tender to some and not to 
others, would create confusion, and be injurious to 

Unable to pass any bills for raising money, they 
contented themselves with resolves, engaging for 
the salaries of the ofliicers ; and to put into Mr. 
Delancey's hands the old allowance of four hundred 
pounds, for fuel and candles for the independent 


companies, though two of them had been drawn 
away to Virginia, and the rest to Oswego ; for when 
captain King arrived in a few days after the session, 
to take the command of the governor's company, 
with Mr. Pitzar, the commissionary, they found only 
a sergeant and eleven privates at New-York, with 
but three good muskets, and not an ounce of powder 
in the magazine ; and the two sentinels at the lieu- 
tenant governor's door, during the sitting of the 
congress at Albany, were relieved by others who 
came from the fort, without firelocks. But though 
there was now a saving of the chief justice's salary 
of three hundred pounds a year, and an augmenta- 
tion of fifty to Mr. Chambers on that account, yet 
nothing was added to their former vote of one 
hundred pounds to the third judge, who had deserted 
the party, and made his peace with Mr, Clinton, and 
been restored to his office, 28lh of July, 1753j on 
the future tenure of good behaviour, and who was 
therefore out of the reach of their resentment in any 
other way than by diminishing his support* 

There was a necessity at this juncture, that the 
members of the assembly should be vigilant of their 

The conduct of the college trustees, and the 
scheme to give the episcopalians a pre-eminence 
in the government of the institution, had given 
umbrage to all the other sectaries, and compelled 
the house to attend to their clamours. To this end, 

* The house had some lime before voted Mr. Chambers two hundred pounds 
for the last year's salary ; but after the message on the letter from the lords of 
trade, but one hundred and fifty pounds, with fifty pounds more on considera- 
tion of the present burden of the office, without expressing any vacancy in the 
. chief seat of justice. 


soon after their meeting, they ordered the trustees 
to report their transactions under the act by which 
they had been appointed ; and the same day, the 
ministers, elders and deacons of the Low Dutch, 
an ancient, opulent, and enchartered church, pre- 
sented a petition, implying that the college ought to 
be incorporated by an act of the legislature, and 
insisted that provision might be made in it for a 
professor of their numerous denomination. 

The trustees came up on the first of November, 
and the contrariety of sentiment amongst them 
appeared in two separate reports — Mr. William 
Livingston offering one, and Mr. James Livingston 
and Mr. NicoU another. They were no sooner 
read, than the house became divided upon a motion 
to enter both of them at large on the journals of the 
house, which was carried by a considerable majority. 
The capital then in the hands of the trustees, exclu- 
sive of the annual revenue of five hundred pounds 
from the excise, was five thousand four hundred and 
ninety-seven pounds, fourteen shillings and six- 
pence. When the reports were considered, the 
assembly resolved, nem, con., " that they would not 
consent to any disposition of the moneys raised by 
way of lottery, for erecting and establishing a col- 
lege within this colony for the education of youth, 
or any part thereof, in any other manner whatsoever 
than by act or acts of the legislature of this colony, 
hereafter to be passed for that purpose." And Mr. 
Robert Livingston, who represented the manor of 
that name, immediately had leave to bring in a bill 
to establish and incorporate a college, which he 
introduced that very afternoon. 


The scheme opened by this bill puzzled every 
branch of the legislature. There was no hope of 
its passing either the council or the lieutenant- 
governor, not only from its repugnancy to their own 
religious attachments, as members of the episcopal 
church, but because it subverted the establishment 
they had given it by letters, patent in the name of 
the crown : by the assembly it could not be rejected 
from their dread of the people, nor passed consist- 
ently with their party prejudices. In this dilemoia, 
Mr. Walton found them a door of escape, by a 
motion that the committee to whom it was referred 
be discharged, the consideration of the bill post- 
poned to the next session, and in the interim printed 
for the opinion of their constituents. It was intro- 
duced with observing, " that the subject was of the 
utmost consequence to the people they had the 
honour to represent, with respect both to their civil 
and religious liberties :" and that the advanced 
season of the year did not give time to consider all 
the parts of the bill with that attention its vast 
importance required.* 

This measure increased the jealousies abroad, 
especially when it was observed that the house ' 
afterwards set another lottery on foot ; negatived a 
motion of Mr. Livingston's, to postpone the second 
reading of the bill for it to the next meeting, and 
another for a deposit of the money, till applied by 
a future law ; and carried a third for striking out 

* It may be seen at large, with Mr. William Livingston's reasons, in the jour- 
nals of the assembly. The bill was drafted by Mr. Scott, for instituting a 
University upon liberal principles, on a provincial endowment, as free as possi- 
ble from all the contracted aims, prejudices, and partiality of sectarian zeal. 

VOL. II. — i^l 


a clause for enacting that any member, for moving 
to apply the sum to be raised by it for any other 
than the use of the college, should be expelled. 

Though fully premonished by the agent, that the 
controversy with New- Jersey would not terminate, 
unless by the adjudication of a court of commis- 
sioners constituted by the crown, and urged by 
memorials and proofs of the distressed condition of 
the people on the borders ; yet, from an obstinate 
attachment to the opinion that the stations from 
and to which the dividing line were to be run were 
clear, or to protract the controversy, an act was 
now passed to submit it to the king, and a vote 
entered as a security for a moiety of the expense.* 
'*An act is passed," says the speaker in his letter 
of the 7th December, *^ submitting the dispute to 
his majesty solely, which we know will bring the 
matter to a speedy issue." 

The act to regulate informations for offences 
prosecuted in England by the clerk of the crown 
office, was a very popular law, though it much 
offended the then attorney general,! vi^ho had ex- 
cited the disgust of some merchants of distinction, 
by lending too easy an ear to trifling complaints 
and informers of very slight characters. 

The English statute of the 4th and 5th William 
and Mary, cap. xviii, made no invasion upon the 
rights of the king's attorney general, for it affected 
only the master of the crown office. But this act, 

* His majesty repealed this act, and, by an instruction of the 12lh of 
August, 1755, required a law to provide for the expense of executing a com- 
mission under the great seal of Great Britain. 

+ Mr. Kempe, who, with his family, arrived hero 2d November, 1752. 


since we had no such officer, was meant to bind the 
attorney general, whenever he proceeded for such 
offences as the master might prosecute in England, 
and was therefore unskilfully dra^vn, unless it 
abridged the confidence reposed by law in the 
attorney general ; and if it did so, the crown was 
in some measure affected as well as its attorney, 
whose emoluments, by a law withdrawing confidence 
in his prudence and integrity, for slight and frivolous 
applications were greatly abridged ; for, according 
to the design of this act, no information for misde- 
meanors prosecutable by the master of the crown 
office, could be instituted, but at the risk of costs 
to the defendant unless it was filed by order of the 
governor and council, or the judges of the supreme 
court, or where the court shall certify that there was 
reasonable cause for the prosecution. The security 
required, is rarely adequate to the charge of the 
defence. But it is a much more material fault in 
legislation, to leave it doubtful when Mr. Attorney 
proceeds as such, or as master of the crown office. 
It was adjudged by Messrs. Delancey and Hors- 
manden, October term, 1756, in the case of Gomez 
and alii ads. Dom. Regis., that the informer, if 
bound for the costs, is no witness on the trial to 
prove the assault, &c. upon himself nor his wife. 
The counsel for the defendants cited Gil. Evidence, 
121, 122., Trials per p. 126., 1 Sid. 337., Hard. 331. 
Kempe, attorney-general. Interested witnesses 
are received where necessary. Per Curiam, The 
objection is unanswerable. The prosecutor is 
evidently interested, and the wife by necessary 
consequence. vSince the statute of William and 

244 irj.STORY OF ?fEW-YORK. 

Mary, of which our act is nearly a copy, a nominal 
prosecutor is named in the information, to elude 
this very objection. The defendants were acquitted. 

The king's bench will not give leave to file such 
informations on the application of the attorney as 
he may bring ex officio: those cases are not within 
the statute. 3 Bur. 1565. To give the intended 
efficacy to this act of assembly, the court should 
withhold the order in every instance where the 
prosecution in England belongs to the crov/n office. 

The five pound act introduced and passed, was a 
favourite law of the lieutenant-governors, for it 
augmented his influence in every part of the colony. 
The profits of the justices of peace, who were all 
of the governor's appointment, and generally nomi- 
nated by the members of the country, now rendered 
that employment more lucrative, and tied together 
the links of corruption between the election jobbers 
and the assemblymen, and between the latter and 
the governor, and formed a chain of dependence to 
which the ruling party did not object, especially as 
the act was only limited to four years, and might be 
afterwards dropped or renewed, according to the 
expediency of the hour. But experience has shown 
what was obvious enough in theory, that those 
mischievous consequences of these contemptible, 
summary, and disorderly jurisdictions, have greatly 
overbalanced the delay and expense assigned as 
the motives for this innovation, as will more par- 
ticularly be observed upon the opposition to the 
continuation of this dangerous policy in a subsequent 

Mr. Delancey hesitated several months before he 




consented to take the chancellor's oath ; and at the 
beginning of the next year, held a court of errors 
to the gratification of those who thenceforth were 
confirmed in the opinion, that by the incompatibility 
between his old and new employment, his office of 
chief justice was extinct. That ascendency there- 
fore, which he had acquired as an independent 
demagogue, now began to abate, and his conduct, 
like other governors, to be suspected, as meditating 
r ather his own and the advancement of the interest 
of the crown, than the security of the rights of the 
people ; and it was his misfortune, that the first 
adjudication in error riveted these unfavorable 

A bill of exceptions had been taken on a trial at 
bar to the opinion of the bench, and execution 
suspended by a writ of error, returnable before the 
lieutenant-governor and his council. The question 
above was, whether the writ ought not to be quashed, 
the king, by one of the instructions, having permitted 
appeals to them, where the quantum in litigation was 
upwards of three hundred pounds sterling. The 
verdict in the present case was for a less sum ; but 
the council of Bryant, the plaintiff in error, for the 
retention of his cause, insisted that the writ of error 
was a writ of right ; that, according to the record, 
manifest error had intervened; that the irovernor and 
council had been long in possession of the power to 
redress the errors of the supreme court ; that this 
authority was part of the colony constitution ; that 
though it originated by, yet it did not depend, any 
more than the supreme court, upon the royal instruc- 
tions ; that the existence of such a court of errors 


was essential to the due administration of justice in 
the colony ; that though the court of the governor 
and council would not prescribe for their right to 
take cognizance in error, as the house of lords did 
in England, it stood nevertheless upon the principles 
of necessity and utility, which had given birth to the 
prescriptive right of the peers, and that it was their 
duty to hold and as far as possible amplify, their 
jurisdiction : that the authority could not be legally 
abridged or altered at the pleasure of the crown : 
that had the instruction the efficacy of a law, yet 
speaking only of appeals, a term known in the civil 
law, it could not relate to relief in a course of error, 
according to the common law ; that it had never 
been duly promulgated, and was therefore not bind- 
ing upon the subject ; that the writ of error was 
itself a commission under the sfreat seal to the lieu- 
tenant-governor and the council, posterior to the 
instruction, and for that reason their authority was 
not affected by the latter : and, lastly, that unless the 
judgments of the supreme court were reversible in 
this way, they were so in no other, and the judges, 
consequently, had an uncontrollable, absolute, and 
formidable despotism over the property of the sub- 
ject, in all cases under three hundred pounds sterling 
— an authority dangerous to the colony and all suitors 
in it, not trusted by the constitution to any court in 

The hearing upon this popular doctrine was on 
the 27th of March, 1755, and the decision to over- 
rule all the objections and quash the writ, agreeably 
to the king's order, without entering into any 
inquiry on the merits of the bill of exceptions. The 


only satisfaction of the counsel for the plaintiff in 
error, (of whom the author was one,*) arose from a 
discernment that the whole court was conscious of 
a timid obsequiousness; and the lieutenant-governor 
and Mr, Murray, more anxious than others, con- 
travened the doctrine they had endeavoured to 
inculcate in that opinion, which the latter had 
delivered upon honour to the assembly, to support 
the court of exchequer, in the year 1754 

Before this determination, Mr. Delancey and the 
council had fallen under some degree of odium. 
The undistinguishing multitude were alarmed at the 
prospect of a war, and the defenceless condition 
both of our sea-coasts and inland frontiers. It was 
to still these clamors that the council advised, and 
the lieutenant-governor issued, an unusual procla- 
mation, on the 10th of January, under his private 
seal, calling the assembly to meet on the 4th of 
February, though they were under an adjournment 
to the second Tuesday in March. 

He infornied them of the armament coming out 
with general Braddock, for the expulsion of the 
French from the Ohio ; urged them to fortify the 
colony; advised to a more compulsory regulation of 
the miltia, and to an attention to the Indians ; and 
said, " he flattered himself that they would not risk 
losing their all by an ill-timed parsimony." 

During the consternation, the proclamation (not- 
withstanding a perfect concert took place between 
all the three branches for disregarding the royal 

^ With Mr. William Livingston and Mr. Scott. Mr. Nicoll, for Obriant the 
defendant in error, on a motion for quashing the writ, had a writ 7iisi cause. 
To which we plead on the 26th December, 1754. 



instructions, and in a faw days tliey emitted forty- 
five thousand pounds in bills of credit, to be sunk 
by a tax,) prohibited supplies of provisions to the 
French colonies, and subjected the militia to such 
duties and penalties as the executive thought fit to 
prescribe, but to screen the assemblymen, the militia 
act originated with the council. 

At this juncture, Mr. Shirley despatched his en- 
voys to animate the colonies to the project he had 
long meditated for exterminating the French from 
the north continent of America. 

This gentleman was colleague to Mr. Mildmay 
for adjusting the contests in America, left unsettled 
by the peace of Aix-la-Chapelle, and in a conference 
with the French commissioners at Paris, became 
jealous that France had the ambitious aim of sub- 
jecting all the northern parts of the new world to 
her dominion. Then it was that he conceived the 
idea of making a conquest of Canada. He proposed 
the design on his return to Mr. Pelham, but was 
silenced by the pacific and economical maxims of 
that minister, and ordered out to his government, 
from whence he never ceased his complaints, to 
excite administration to some vigorous exertions. 
The ministry were at length compelled to listen 
to his suggestions, by the accomplishment of his 
predictions, and letters were now written by Sir 
Thomas Robinson, (Mr. Pelham being dead,) ap- 
prising all the provinces of their danger, of which 
Mr. Shirley made a good use. 

To this colony he sent Mr. Thomas Pownal, who 
was trusted with the secret before communicated to 
the assembly of the Massachusetts bav, under the 


tie of an oath. Canada was to be threatened on 
the side of the Kenebec and the lakes Champlain 
and Ontario, while Braddock's two regiments with 
the southern aid, were to penetrate and reduce the 
French forts on the Ohio.* 

Pownal found Mr. Delancey and his party rather 
cold and backward, and applied himself to a party 
who from various causes were become so considera- 
ble as to inspire the lieutenant-governor with some 
awe, and especially as their views corresponded 
with the recommendations of the ministry. 

The lieutenant-governor, therefore, soon after Mr. 
Braddock's arrival, sent a message to the assembly, 
on the 26th of March, 1755, pressing for supplies, 
to quarter troops, and impress carriages, Slc. and 
apprised them of the precarious condition of Os- 
wego, where the garrison were exposed to want 
by the non-payment of their debt to sir William 
Johnson, who had contracted to subsist them. 

Having communicated to them at the same time 
Mr. Shirley's letters, the council called for a com- 
mittee from the lower house, to hear Mr. Pownal's 
explanation, and the joint committee immediately 
resolved, *' That the scheme was well concerted, and 
that if Massachusetts would raise fourteen hundred 
men, we ought to find eight hundred, and they 
agreed to contribute to a general fund for the 
common charge of the war. 

Unfortunately, the necessary preparations were 
suspended for Mr. Braddock's approbation of the 

'f' Mr. Shirley's letter was communicated to the council of New- York 10th 
March, 1755, and Mr. Pownal introduced four days after to explain and enforce 
the project. 

VOL. II.™ 


plan. Mr. Shirley was piqued at the delay, for no 
act was passed, as the house adjourned till the gene- 
ral's opinion could be obtained at a congress to which 
he had called several of the governors at Alexan- 
dria. The convention* was hold the I4th of April. 
Mr. Dclancey having returned, urged the assembly, 
on the 23d of that month, to proceed, informing 
them that General Braddock had consented to the 
plan, and the next day the assembly resolved, and 
soon after passed bills for levying eight hundred 
men, to act on the side of Crown point, to impress 
artificers for constructing boats, &c. and to prevent 
the exportation of provisions to the French. 

After these became laws, Mr. Delancey, on the 
2d of May, adjourned the house to the 20th, and 
then to the 27th, when he further informed them, 
that Connecticut had agreed to supply three of the 
eight companies at our expense, and that he had 
sent to Virginia for the necessary arms for the whole 
eight hundred ; that more forts would be necessary 
on Hudson river, and a large vessel in the lake, (St. 
Sacrament, since lake George ;) that it was agreed 
at Alexandria to make presents to the Indians, and 
that money ought to be applied for that purpose, 
and for the expensesof Mr. Johnson, the commander- 
in-chief of the provincial troops, against Crown 
Point, suitable to his rank of major general. 

The assembly, proceeding upon the plan of the 
late congress at Albany, for apportioning the aids of 
the colonies, voted fifty pounds towards artificers for 

* Governor Shirley look his route on Long Island, and passed through the 
village of Flat-Bush on the 6th of April. Mr. Delancey, with his brother 
Oliver and others, followed the day after. 


constructing forts. One hundred and seventy-four 
pounds ten shillings and eleven pence as their pro- 
portion of eight hundred pounds sterling, for Indian 
presents ; eighteen hundred for arming their levies ; 
and engaged for their proportion towards a vessel on 
the lake. A bill was set on foot for the payment of 
the necessary services of the Crown Point expedi- 
tion, and clauses ordered to be inserted to pay the 
lieutenant-governor two hundred pounds for his 
journey to Virginia, and twenty-two pounds more to 
his brother Oliver, who went to Connecticut to 
obtain three hundred men towards accomplishing 
our levies in that colony, and for his dcligent arid 
faithful services there he had the thanks of the house. 
But before any further progress was made, the lieu- 
tenant-governor adjourned them on the last of May, 
to the 10th of June, when he informed them that he 
had procured arms from Virginia for six hundred 
of their men ; that a severe law was necessary to 
obstruct the sale of rum to, and purchases of arms 
from, the Indians, and a reimbursement required 
for a present to them of Indian corn; and that drafts 
from the militia were expedient towards completing 
the levies. This message contained the following 
clause : " In the quotas to be settled for the contin- 
gent charges which may arise, none of the colonies 
ought at present to be considered but such as are 
engaged in the expedition, lest the service should 
suffer by it, or by too minute a calculation. The 
proposed expedition is of such consequence, that it 
ought not to be retarded by any light consideration." 
On the seventeenth of June, he calls upon them 
for two thousand pounds, as a fifth of the expense 


of the train ; repeats his request towards general 
Johnson's expenses, a supply of their proportion 
towards Indian presents, provision for a quarter- 
master to be appointed by himself, and applauds the 
former evidences of their zeal. 

Two days after they agreed to give two thousand 
pounds towards the train ; four hundred and fifty 
pounds to the Indians ; fifty pounds to general 
Johnson for his table, as much to the colonel of their 
own regiment ; thirty pounds to the major, and four 
shillings a day to one of the officers serving as 

The council afterwards sent the lower house a 
bill against the exportation of provisions, stores of 
war, &.C-, and in the second reading of it, the 
lieutenant-governor adjourned them again to the 
twentieth of June, for four days. 

Mr. Kennedy, the receiver-general, carried through 
his quit-rent bill at this session, but it excited re- 
sentment, and the house, on the twenty-fifth of June, 
desired to know from the lieutenant-governor what 
had been done respecting the powder he had seized 
as the king's collector ; adding, " that it will be 
impracticable to keep any gunpowder for the use of 
the colony, if it be liable to be thus arbitrarily seized 
and taken out of the custody of the oflficer, under 
pretence of being unlawfully imported." He re- 
plied, that the afiair (as he took it,) rested with the 
lawyers, and promised to give directions to quicken 
the proceedings r and the same day they sent him a 

* Mr. Kennedy did not succeed entirely to his wish. To the bill there were 
many popular clauses, for the assembly would not impose any rent upon the 
old patents that had been free from them before. 


message, desiring liim, as Mr. Shirley was hourly 
expected, " to use his utmost endeavours to settle 
with him all matters relating to the Crown Point 
expedition, that the same may not be retarded for 
want of any articles necessary for carrying on the 
said expedition." 

The lieutenant-governor laid before them, on the 
fourth of July, a request from Boston, that prepara- 
tion might be made by this colony for an addition to 
the troops. They only voted that they would aug- 
ment their aid if it was necessary ; and after adding 
sundry clauses for further expenditures, sent up the 
bill to provide for the services, on the fifth of July, 
which the council read thrice and sent up to the 
governor, who passed it the very same day it came 
up from the assembly, and he then adjourned them 
to the twenty-second of that month. 

The people of the Massachusetts bay, taking 
the advantage of the common distress, were now 
making new inroads upon the colony. The scattered 
farmers on the eastern borders, unable to resist the 
large bands of intruders who came upon them by 
surprise, had their property despoiled, and were 
themselves carried off to distant jails, and harassed 
by the demand of extravagant bail The pretext 
for these violences, besides a proclamation to appre- 
hend the intruders, was a letter to governor Shirley 
from Mr. Delancey, declining their proposal of last 
winter of leaving the decision of their controversy, 
relating to the partition, to disinterested referees ; 
but early in the spring, a committee under that go- 
vernment protected by men in arms, began surveys 
for towns west and north-westward from Sheffield, 


and within twelve or fourteen miles of Hudson's 
river. These transactions were reported to Mr. 
Delancey, by persons who conferred with the com- 
mittee both at Sheffield and Springfield, in a letter 
of the twenty-ninth of May, and his silence at this 
session upon a subject so interesting to the proprie- 
tors of the manors of Livingston and Renselaer- 
wick, as well as many others in the north country, 
who beheld the rapid growth and aspiring spirit of 
their eastern neis^hbours, administered to censure 
and discontent. It is some proof, if our intelligence 
was true, that the committee were themselves con- 
scious of a defect of title in their principals, that 
they made presents of cultivated land to such of 
the tenants as were willing to contest the title of 
their landlords, and sold the residue at the low price 
of but two shillings lawful money per acre.* One 
of the prisoners was a workman taken from the 
casting of cannon ball at the Ancram furnace for 
the king's army ; and that the service might not 
suffer, governor Shirley wrote to the judges, re- 
questing that he might be bailed. It was no sooner 
read than they declared, that this interposition of 
the governor's was of itself a good reason for hold- 
ing him in close custody : this anecdote is recorded, 
not to expose their ignorance of a prerogative vested 
by law in the king, whose letters against law and 

" '-^ The author accompanied Mr Robert R. Livingston on this journey. On 
the 16th of May they met brigadier Dwight, colonel Choat, and major Havvley. 
at Sheffield. They had a vote of the general court, authorizing them to make 
grants w^est of Sheffield and Stockbridge, as far as to the province of New- York. 
They could not be dissuaded from prosecuting tlieir surveys under so dangerous 
and indecisive a power, being under instructions. They refused giving a copy 
of the vote. 


right are doubtless to be disregarded, but to show the 
extreme jealousy of the high-spirited descendants 
of the men who had curbed the tyrany of Charles I. 
That Mr. Shirley, whose regiment, with Sir 
William PeppereFs, had passed by us up the river 
on the twenty-fourth of June for Niagara, censured 
the tardy proceedings of this colony, when he 
arrived at New-York on the second of July, and 
from which he departed two days after, was uni- 
versally known. 

How well it was founded, is left to the reader to 
determine. The speaker's letter to the agent, of the 
sixth of July, was doubtless intended as the justifi- 
cation of their proceedings : — " By our last advices 
from the westward, major general Braddock was on 
his march from Willis's creek, within about fifty 
miles of the Ohio ; his men well and in high spirits. 
On the fourth instant, governor Shirley set out from 
this place for Albany, his men chiefly gone before, 
intending with all expedition for Niagara. This 
little army consists of his own and Pepperel's 
regiments, joined by five hundred men from New- 
Jersey, and five hundred more proposed to be taken 
from major general Johnson's command ; so that 
this union will of course carry into execution the 
clause and article of war you sent us, and show its 
effects. The enterprise to Crown Point has so 
thoroughly engrossed the attention of the house, 
that they have not been able to apply themselves to 
the affair of the Jersey line. The provincial forces 
of this and the eastern colonies, are on their march 
for Albany, in order with the utmost despatch to 


proceed to Crown Point, under the command of 
major general Johnson, who, it is said, has engaged 
a good number of Indians to attend both armies, 
and I am in hopes by October next, we shall be in 
possession of all the settlements they have made 
on his majesty's lands. This colony has, on this 
occasion, exerted its utmost, having in conjunction 
with the colony of Massachusetts bay, furnished the 
whole train of artillery, amounting to an expense of 
ten thousand pounds currency, the other colonies 
having furnished no part thereof." 

It must, however, be remembered that one motive 
to the zeal of the party who had so long predomi- 
nated in the province, was taken away from the 
moment the news arrived in March, that sir Charles 
Hardy was coming out to take the reins. Their 
disgust could not be concealed ; Mr Delancey had 
the mortifying prospect of descending to the bench 
with a disputable title, and the members were not 
without their fears of a dissolution, from the firmness 
of the administration respecting the permanent 
support, the rejection of their address to the king, 
the unaccountableness of their act respecting the 
Jersey line,^ and the inattention of the lords of trade 

■'" Mr. Charles's letter of 25th of March, 1755, had utterly subverted tlie confi- 
dence of those who relied on the lieutenant-irovernor's opinion concerning the 
proper mode of settling that controversy : concerning the hearing at the board 
of trade on the act for submitting it to the king's decision, he writes, " their 
lordships declare that they look upon the said acts as waste paper, and that the 
settlement of the hne in dispute can no otherwise be made than by commis- 
sioners from the crown. Again, 2nd June: — "^ I now find that their lordships 
have agreed m a report against the act as ineffectual to the purpose for which it 
was intended, and that it will be in vain to oppose the report in council." And 
he importunes the house to provide for the expense of a commission, as he had 
often before, and for names to be prepared for commission. 


lo their impeachment of the late governor. Add to 
this, that the dissentions respecting the college had 
spread through the colony, and endangered the seats 
of several members;- and that the Delanceys wero 
not a little chagrined, both with Mr. Shirley and 
general Johnson. The former having preferred 
Messrs. Peter Van Brugh Livingston and William 
Alexander, to Mr. Oliver Delancev, for a^jents in 
the purchase of supplies for the Niagara expedition, 
and the latter being a partizan of Mr. Clinton's, and 
therefore not paid, and hated the more, because 
favoured by general Braddock, in consequence of 
the patronage of Mr. Shirley. Not to mention that 
Shirley had expressed himself to the lieutenant- 
governor with a tartness not easily to be forgot, 
though it was necessary to guard against his attacks : 
add to this, after the precipitation of the act provid- 
ing for the service by three readings in one day, and 
the stimulus respecting Mr. Kennedy, an opposer 
of that bill, and the promoter of another sent from 
the council to the house for the easier recovery of 
the king's quit-rents, was ascribed. 

At the close of this meeting, Mr. Richard, Mr. 
Walton, Mr. Cruger, and Mr. Watts, all members 
for the^ capital, were joined to the speaker, at his 
request of aid for managing the future correspon- 
dence with the agent. 

'-^ To weaken the oppoyition, Mr. Delancey had grafted an additional charter, 
cnabhng the ministers, elders, and deacons, of the low Dutch church of New- 
York to cliooso and maintain a professor in the college of their persuasion ; and 
on the 12th of Juno, the governors petitioned tlie assembly for the money which 
had been raised and put into the hands of the trustees, but it was carried by a 
majority of two, to postpone the consideration of their request to the fall of the 

VOL. TT. f38 


The account of the death and defeat of general 
Braddock on the ninth of July, reached us on the 
tenth day after, and gave a shock more easily con- 
ceived than described. 

Common sense suggested, that as the attempt 
against fort Du Quesne was thus become abortive, 
reinforcements were necessary to give success to the 
two other enterprises against Niagara and Crown 
Point — and especially to the former : yet when the 
assembly met, on the 22d of July, Mr. Delancey 
adjourned them to the fifth of August, and then 
delivered a speech for fresh levies of men in such 
animated terms, as increased the astonishment at 
his silence a fortnight before, and how he could then 
think it for his majesty's service that the members 
should be dismissed, and now utter himself that 
*^ the safety and being of the British colonies are 
near a crisis. Nothing will tend more to animate 
our troops, than our proceeding immediately to raise 
an additional number of men to join them, nor can 
any thing be more effectual to confirm our Indians 
in their dependence on us, than to show them we 
have strength sufficient to protect them, to defend 
ourselves, and to chastise our enemies. Let it be 
exerted vi'ith the utmost vigour. As the provincial 
troops are already on their march, any assistance 
we give them must be sent without the least delay ; 
and therefore if a sufficient number of volunteers do 
not offer, it is necessary drafts should be made, and 
the succours be despatched with all speed. I 
recommend it to you to provide funds. I have 
thought of three, a poll tax of ten shillings or more 
on every slave from fifteen to fifty, an excise upon 


tea, and a stamp duty : if they are insufficient, make 
an addition to the tax on estates real and personal." 
Lieutenant-governor Phipps, of the Massachusetts 
bay, had before urged an augmentation of the army 
destined to Crown Point, and his letter was now 
communicated to the assembly, and led to the real 
object of the message ; for the house instantly sig- 
nified their concurrence for the reinforcement of 
that body, and a bill was brought in for a new 
emission of ten thousand pounds to defray the 
expense, which was sent up to the council on the 
12th of August. Objections were now immediately 
started to it, and amendments proposed. Four 
hundred men were to be raised, at fifteen pence a 
day. If volunteers did not offer, the quotas in all 
the counties, except New-York, were to be drafted 
by ballot ; but in that, the captains had authority to 
pick out the individuals. Nothing could be more 
essential ; and it was imputed to design, to gratify 
private revenge excited by the opposition to the 
college, as well as to influence at the new elections, 
which every body imagined would take place as 
usual on the arrival of the new governor. The 
lieutenant-governor, who had set his heart upon the 
bill, intruded upon the council the day it came up, 
and pressed their assent with an indecent freedom. 
The intended amendments could not have been 
rejected, without exposing the lower house to the 
resentment of the people ; and the council, confi- 
dent of success, resisted the lieutenant-governor's 
importunity, and resolved to send them down. But, 
determined that the bill should pass as it stood, or 
be lost, he immediately published the secret which 


Mr. Shirley had incautiously trusted to him, and 
which the council had engaged not to divulge before 
their amendments were adopted; and that very 
afternoon sent the general's letter to the house, of 
the 7th of that month, informing him that he had 
ordered colonel Dunbar, who commanded the twelve 
hundred regulars that escaped on Braddock's defeat 
to march immediately to Albany ; and from that 
moment the augmentation of the provincial forces 
gave place to a vote for refreshing and transporting 
the regular troops ; and two days after, the assembly 
was adjourned to the 26th of that month, and after- 
wards to the 1st of September. 

But to guard against any disadvantageous im- 
pressions in England, care was taken to despatch a 
letter, on the 12th of August, to the agent, which, 
after mentioning Braddock's defeat, the loss of 
eight or nine hundred men, and the artillery and 
baggage, ^^for want only of a little caution,^^ it 
adds : " what steps the southern colonies will take 
in this juncture, I know not. As for us, we can 
give no assistance, being engaged in an expedition 
against Crown Point ; and this disaster of general 
Braddock's has laid us under a necessity of rein- 
forcing our troops on that expedition, at the expense 
of ten thousand pounds more. Mr. Shirley is gone 
to Oswego, with about three thousand men, to 
endeavour to seize Niagara, and interrupt the com- 
munication between Canada and the Ohio, through 
the lake Ontario : but its success may now justly 
be doubted, as the French will be able, from the 
forces on the Ohio to strengthen Niagara. In this 
disjointed state of our colonies, I fear we shall 


never be able to do any thing to effect. If the 
government at home will form us into a union, 
(for here I fear it never will be done,*) I make no 
doubt but by a little assistance from Great Britain, 
in money, shipping, and warlike stores, we shall be 
able to drive this restless, treacherous and savage 
enemy, from this continent." 

Whether this letter was or was not despatched 
before Mr. Shirley's letter on that day was commu- 
nicated to the house, there certainly was art in 
leaving the agent to make a use of it, for the credit 
of a colony that neither contributed this reinforce- 
ment it boasts of, eiitmr to the western or northern 
expeditions of the year. 

But a very different spirit prevailed in the eastern 
colonies; for, upon the southern defeat, Massachu- 
setts added eight hundred and Connecticut fifteen 
hundred men to the forces already under general 
Johnson's command ; and this compelled Mr. De- 
lancey to defer any further adjournments. When 
he met the assembly again, he counterfeited the 
highest approbation of the zeal and vigour of our 
eastern neighbours, and urged the house, the reader 

* On the 15th of this very month of August, Mr. Charles complained that 
uo copy of the Albany plan of last year had even then been transmitted to him. 
The answer to this letter, of 4th November, perhaps assigns the reason. " The 
plan of union concerted at Albany, and sent home last year to be enforced by 
Parliament, we might object to ; but a union appears so absolutely necessary, 
that we shall throw no obstacles in its way. As to the funds you hint at for 
American affairs, to wit, a stamp duty, and a duty on foreign molasses, we 
conceive it will be best for each colony to be left at liberty for raising and sup- 
plying their quota of money for general service, in such manner as they shall 
find will be most for their ease, though we have no objection to a duty of a 
penny sterling per gallon on foreign molasses, to be collected in each province, 
and applied towards making up the quota of each province, where collected for 
the general use of America; but a stamp duty we apprehend would be 


doubtless imagines, to increase their levies in the 
same or a greater proportion ; but let us take his 
own words : — *' I do most earnestly recommend it to 
you to take measures suitable to this occasion. It 
would be a most sensible mortification to me to find 
this province backward in bearing their share in a 
matter so nearly touching their honour, their inte- 
rests, and perhaps their being. This province has 
already done much for their security, and contributed 
their full quota to the first plan of the expedition. 
Go on, then, to accomplish a work already begun. 
Exert yourselves so as that we may appear with 
credit, and that we may, by the blessing of God, 
have reason to expect a happy issue to our under- 
takings in so just and righteous a cause." 





Sir Charles Hardy arrived on the second of 
September, in the Sphynx ship of war, within a few 
hours after this message was transmitted to the 
house ; but by the artifice of Delancey, he was 
detained on board till the next day,* when his 
commission was published with the usual solemni- 
ties, and followed by an entertainment, bonfires, 
illuminations, and other expressions of joy. 

Sir Charles, whether self-moved, or led by the 
advice of the lieutenant-governor, who had him to 
himself the whole preceding evening on board ship, 

* The council were met to receive him, when Chief Justice Delancey obtruded 
and offered to be the bearer of a message to the governor, that the militia 
could not be drawn up to receive him till tlie next day, and requesting that he 
would postpone his landing in the interuB. They tamely consented, instead of 
reproving him for the intrusion. 

';264 jriSToiir of new-york. 

apart from the council, repressed all disagreeable 
intimations for the present ; and, on the fourth, sent 
a short message to the house, which, to those who 
were attentive to the artifices of the day, portended, 
what was soon after manifest to every body, that he 
had not talents to govern without a leader. He 
applauded Mr. Delancey's last message, though he 
certainly had not time to discern its true end ; ap- 
plauded their alacrity in raising supplies ; and in a 
word, after the declaration of his hopes that they 
would give some further assistance, concluded with 
a compliment to the lieutenant-governor, leaving 
them to proceed upon his request. 

The house, however, resolved, that it was too late 
in the season to raise men for the assistance of the 
Crown Point army, but that they would give eight 
thousand pounds towards two thousand men then in 
part levied in Connecticut for that purpose ; and 
immediately ordered in a bill to strike money to that 
amount ; and then presented the new governor with 
an address, congratulating him upon his arrival; 
gently informing him of the custom of new elections 
at such a juncture ; declaring their satisfaction in a 
dissolution, if he thought it consistent with the 
king's interest and the security of the colony; 
apologizing at the same time for the tardiness of 
their compliments, by the importance of their busi- 
ness, and an attention to necessary speed ; and con- 
cluding with a testimonial of the upright intentions 
of his predecessor. 

Sir Charles, though he had Mr. Pownal then about 
him, and from whom he could be well informed 
of the state of our parties, and had liimself been 


guarded by an address communicated under cover, 
the day after his arrival, by the free pen of an anony- 
mous writer, who had maintained a weekly paper for 
a year past, under the title of "The Watch-Tower;" 
thanked them for their congratulation ; expressed 
his pleasure in their professions of loyalty; promised 
an attention to the public weal ; took encourage- 
ment from their applause of a governor who regarded 
the king's service and the prosperity of the colony ; 
thought their willingness to appeal to the people a 
proof of their consciousness of their own rectitude, 
and applauded their despatch in the business before 

On the 11th of that month, the governor passed 
the bill for eight thousand pounds to Connecticut, 
with another, which also originated in the lower 
house, and three others which took their rise in the 
council ; and then put an end to the session. 

Nothing was known, till the day after, of the 
attack upon the provincial camp at lake George, 
and the repulse of the French, and the capture of 
Baron Dierhau their general. Upon the first news 
of that action, which happened on Monday, the 
8th of September, sir Charles determined to visit 
Albany, and forward the Connecticut reinforce- 
ments. He took with him the lieutenant-governor, 
Mr. Horsmanden, and major Rutherford, of the 
council, with Mr. Pownal, and sailed on Sunday 
the 14th. Gen. Johnson, who left Albany with the 
artillery on the 8th of August, had arrived at the 
south end of lake George but a few days before the 
French army appeared, and had only felled a few 
trees on the land side of his camp. 

VOL. n, — ^34 


The Baron had collected about three thousand 
men at Crown Point, and led a detachment of two 
hundred regulars, six hundred Canadians, and as 
many Indians, up the South Bay, intending to pass 
on and lay waste the settlements down to Albany; 
but near fort Edward, turned back with hopes 
of cutting oif that part of the army then fourteen 
miles higher up the lake. He was first met by a 
party of about one thousand men, a few miles from 
our camp. These he drove before him, as well as 
a second detachment sent out to support them; and 
by a very great error, instead of storming the log 
breastwork, he halted, and scattered his irregulars 
at one hundred and fifty yards, kept up a fire of 
musquetry till the camp recovered from its surprise, 
and began to play upon them with artillery. 

Wounded and deserted by all but his handful of 
regulars, he thought of nothing now but returning to 
his boats at South Bay, but was pursued, wounded 
again, and taken. A detachment of two hundred 
men from fort Edward arriving at this instant, pur- 
sued the flying army, and completed the repulse 
before the dusk of the evening. Sir William John- 
son receiving very early a wound in the thigh, the 
defence was conducted by general Lyman of Con- 
necticut. The loss of the enemy, though much 
magnified at that time, was afterwards found to be 
less than two hundred men. Our Indians bore no 
part in the conflict, and soon after made the circuit 
of Albany, in their return to their own castles on 
the Mohawk river. All the Crown Point expedition 
ended in was the construction of another fort distin- 
guished by the name of William Henry, while the 


French were erecting one at the pass of Carillon, 
or Ticonderoga.* 

The Niagara expedition was still more unsuccess- 
ful. Nothing was effected except the preservation 
of Oswego, where general Shirley arrived on the 
21st of August. After building the vessels, the want 
of provisions at that distant port retarded the army 
till the inland sea of Ontario, which they were to 
navigate, became too boisterous for a safe trans- 
portation of the troops ; and the general, having 
constructed a new fort, and made dispositions for 
the safety of that post, retired on the 24th of 
October, taking his route to Albany, where colonel 
Dunbar had just brought the remains of Braddock's 
army to be wintered,! and thence to New-York, to 
a congress of governors and principal officers of 
the army, to concert a plan of operations for the 
ensuing year. 

. The night of Tuesday the 18th of November, was 
rendered memorable by an earthquake. The moon 
was at the full, the sky bright and perfectly calm. 
About two minutes after four in the morning, a 
rumbling noise was succeeded by jarring vibrations 
for four or five minutes. The shocks appeared to 
be not undulatory, but horizontal. The house the 
author was in cracked, and the windows rattled, but 
no fissure was made in the w^alls, nor did a brick fall 
from the chimneys. 


* The Indian word is descriptive of a point at the confluence of three waters. 
Ticon is a corruption. To preserve the Indian pronunciation, it should have 
written Tjeonderoge. 

i They passed by the metropoUs in thirty-three transports from New-Jersey, 
hni not before the 8th of October. 


The speaker's, or rather the committee^s, letter of 
November 4th, under his signature, to the agent, 
after mentioning general Johnson's army, observed, 
that " they had got no farther than lake George, and 
I greatly fear will not reach Crown Point this win- 
ter. The French, it seems, impatient of our delay, 
met our forces at that lake on the 8th of September, 
and endeavoured to storm their camp, but were 
repulsed with considerable loss. Their chief com- 
mander with many others were taken prisoners, and 
their next, with six or seven hundred men, were 
killed upon the spot. Why this victory was not 
pursued, and a proper advantage made of it, I can- 
not as yet account for." After reporting that the 
second in command was at the defeat of Braddock, 
he adds : — " Surprising diligence on that side ! but 
what term to give it on the other, I am at a loss. 
As to governor Shirley, he is returning without 
proceeding further than Oswego. What retarded 
his operations, I cannot yet learn. Sir Charles 
Hardy, our governor, arrived here on the second of 
September, and was joyfully received by our lieu- 
tenant-governor and our province. On the first 
news of the action at lake George, he immediately 
went to Albany, with our lieutenant-governor, and 
several of his majesty's council of this province ; 
from whence he is not yet returned, though hourly 
expected, and where it is said he has been remark- 
ably assiduous in forwarding every thing relating, 
to the expedition. We as yet know nothing of his 

Sir Charles did not return to New- York before 
the 26th of November, nor general Shirley until 


the 2d of December ; the former on that day to 
meet his assembly, and the latter, shortly afterwards, 
the congress he had convoked. 

Sir Charles was now obliged to reveal the dis- 
agreeable orders he had received, upon the long 
contested quarrel respecting the annual support of 
the civil list. The moment it was divulged, there 
remained no further doubt of the truth of the re- 
ports from Albany, that there had been bickerings 
between him and general Shirley, and that Mr. 
Delancey swayed the councils of the new governor. 
With an assembly at the beck of the lieutenant- 
governor he saw the propriety of surrendering 
himself into his hands, or of entering into a quarrel, 
which, considering the exigency of the hour, endan- 
gered both his credit and his interest. 

He told them plainly that he was commanded to 
insist upon a permanent, indefinite revenue, provid- 
ing in the same law, competent salaries for all the 
usual officers of government, repairing and main- 
taining fortifications, annual presents to the Indians, 
and for unforeseen contingents attending that ser- 
vice, and in general for all the fixed and ascertainable 
charges of government : after which he demanded 
their quota towards the garrisons of forts Edward 
and William Henry, and for a discharge of the 
arrears that were due to the troops in their pay. 

The scheme concerted was to tack the provision 
wanted with the payment, not only of what was due 
to the army, but to the officers of government, who, 
in consequence of the thirty-ninth instruction, were 
hitherto unpaid, and thus to create a still greater 
dependence of the executive upon the pleasure of 


the assembly, who now meant to adopt the practice 
of paying the officers after the year, as public 
creditors, instead of securing the payment for 
services hereafter to be done. 

The assembly, in their answer, declare that his 
activity in proceeding to Albany, and forwarding the 
Crown Point expedition, merited the highest ap- 
plause ; and that the erecting and garrisoning the 
two northern forts, (for not a word is lisped concern- 
ing Oswego,) were " wholesome and well-judged 
measures." After which they proceed to the grand 
subject of debate, and warily reply, that they had 
no convenient funds for an indefinite support, and 
therefore hoped to be excused for declining a mea- 
sure opposite to the sentiments of almost every 
individual of the colony. They added, that they 
could not help disclosing their concern, that a 
province so small in numbers, and so cheerful and 
liberal in supporting the government, was asked to 
do what others were not ; and concluded with 
testifying great gratitude to the crown for its 
eminent favours. 

The governor replied, that "his majesty having 
constituted this his province into a government, 
justly expected a support of that government by a 
permanent revenue, settled by a law, that shall be 
indefinite ; and as to the funds or means of raising 
that support, it lies with you, whom I am extremely 
happy to find sensible of, and so gratefully acknow- 
ledging, his majesty's paternal care and favour." 

The house continued sitting until the 23d of that 
month ; and then, after passing several laws, ad- 
journed, without discord, till the holidays were over. 


The assembly sought no occasion for controversy, 
while the governor on his part soothed them with 
hints of his disapprobation of the orders he had 
delivered from his master, and with intimations of 
his unwillingness to take umbrage at their non- 

By this conduct, and the help of the prevailing 
party, he grew popular, while the general of the 
army, by the acts of the same junto, was defamed. 

Mr. Shirley continued his head-quarters at New- 
York till the 21st of January, when he set forward 
to Boston, to accelerate a winter expedition against 
Ticonderoga, which he had planned after his main 
scheme for the operations of the next campaign was 
adjusted ; and major Rutherford and captain Staats 
Morris were despatched with copies of it to the 

This congress opened on the 12th of December, 
and consisted of the general, sir Charles Hardy, 
lieutenant-governor Sharp, of Maryland, Mr. Morris 
of Pennsylvania, Mr. Fitch of Connecticut, colonel 
Dunbar, colonel Peter Schuyler, major Craven, sir 
John St. Clair, and major Rutherford. 

It soon transpired, that the general intended to 
drive the French from Frontenac and Toronto, two 
forts on the north side of lake Ontario, gain a do- 
minion of that sea, and cut off the communication 
between Canada and the interior dependencies at 
Niagaria, Fort Du Quesne, Detroit, Michillimacki- 
nac, and the posts on the waters of the Mississippi. 
By whom the resolutions of the council of war were 
first divulged, was never discovered ; but very soon 
after the governors were gone home, one Evans, the 


author of a map of the middle colonies, in print 
asserted the title of France to the very country 
proposed to be invaded ; and every body knew that 
this man was patronized by Mr. Pownal and the 
partizans of Mr. Delancey. These gentlemen, as 
lieutenant-governors, the former of New-Jersey, 
and the other of New- York, were piqued at not being 
able to assist at the grand deliberations of the day, 
and took all opportunities to revenge the general's 
resentment of their intrigues, by sowing discord, 
while at Albany, between him and sir Charles 
Hardy, by undervaluing his services on the western 
expedition, and by magnifying general Johnson's 
defence at lake George, of which they had before 
spoken slightly, as the achievement of a hero and 
the saviour of his country. And thus the man who, 
when first noticed by Mr. Clinton, was treated with 
contempt for adhering to that governor, could not 
obtain the payment of a just debt often demanded 
from the assembly, was of a sudden introduced 
into the capital with the pomp of a triumph. A 
crowd went out to meet him when he made his 
entry, surrounded with coaches and chariots, into a 
city illuminated to his honour, though the general, 
whose interest he came to solicit for the next year's 
command, had a few days before arrived from 
Albany, and landed almost without observation. 

Before Mr. Shirley left New- York, he proposed 
a winter expedition to surprize and seize the post 
of Ticonderoga, and sir Charles communicated 
the secret to his assembly on the 10th of January, 
1756, and besought them for their contributions. 
The house, after three days, declared it to be a 


hopeless project, unless the general would, instead 
of two, send four hundred regulars along with the 
provincial troops, and muttered their discontent at 
the proportion to be supplied by the Massachusetts 
bay. The general, through sir Charles, informed 
them that all the troops under colonel Dunbar 
and lieutenant-colonel Gage, amounted to but six 
hundred, and that so many as they wished for could 
not be spared, without reversing the plan just settled 
in the general congress for the ensuing campaign. 
The assembly adhered to their first opinion ; and 
the general, a few days after, proceeded to Boston, 
in order to excite the eastern colonies to prosecute 
the enterprise without the aid of New- York, and to 
forward the preparations for the general services of 
the year. 

Pownal returned to England soon after Mr. 
Shirley went to Boston, and sir Charles was now 
left alone. 

Before the governor arrived it was reported by 
Pownal, and believed, because his brother was 
secretary to the board of trade, and a necessary 
instrument to the earl of Halifax, who presided 
there, that a new commission, durante bene placesOy 
would be sent out to the Chief-Justice, that he 
might, if he took it up, henceforth be eji bride. 
Being at Albany in October term, the multitude 
remained in suspense concerning the part he was 
to act, till the next court in January was opened. 

Mr. Delancey, from the death of sir Dan vers 
Osborn, asserted his title in all companies, nor did 
he omit his attendances at any of the jovial feasts 
and conventions of the profession of the law. Wu 

VOL. TT. — 85 


partisans at the bar had tested the writs in his name 
to countenance his pretensions, while others inserted 
the names of the puisne judges, without his, and 
some those of all three. The puisne judges uttered 
publicly not a syllable upon the subject, though they 
held their places during good behaviour, through 
dread of his power over the assembly, by whom they 
were supported, though they had privately declared 
that his commission was extinct. They waited to 
see what part the governor meant to take, imagining 
he would offer Mr. Delancey a new commission, 
and if he did not, meant to be silent — ^judging then 
he must have resigned himself to the demagogues, 
for the easier management of the assembly. 

The court opened during the moment of suspense 
on the 20th of January ; and the hall being much 
crowded, the lieutenant-governor made his appear- 
ance, struggling through the populace to advance 
towards the bench. As the sheriff's officers called 
upon the crowd to give way, he stepped forward, 
with a countenance of anxiety and confusion, until 
Chambers and Horsmanden, the puisne judges, 
took him by the hand with a cringing courtesy, and 
placed him between them on the bench, where he 
continued till two prisoners, one charged for a 
murder and the other for a theft, were arraigned and 
taken from the bar. His dominion over the gover- 
nor was no longer doubted by most men, though it 
was still whispered by a few, that sir Charles took 
this conduct for a bold attack upon the prerogative: 
but this continued only until the 4th of February.. 

That day was appointed for arguing a demurrer 
to a bill of chancery before the governor. The 


author was one of the counsel in that cause, and 
they waited long for the chancellor's appearance, 
not suspecting that the perturbation of his mind 
was the cause of his absence. While the suitors 
were left below, they were invited into his private 
apartment, and a conversation ensued, of which the 
author made a minute, and he therefore transcribed 
it as being too characteristic of sir Charles to be 

Addressing himself to the counsel on both sides, 
Mr. Murray, Mr. Smith, Mr. Nicoll, and the author, 
he said, " I beg pardon for detaining you gentlemen. 
Does this matter turn upon a point of law ? 

Answer, It is a demurrer to a bill, and raises the 
question, whether the complainant's relief is not to 
be at common law ? 

Sir Charles* I desired the chief justice to be 
here, and he is not come. I can't take upon 
myself to say I understand the law. 

Mr, Smith, Few governors will ; but it is a 
branch of your office, sir Charles. 

Sir Charles. I have been justice of the peace in 
England, but know nothing of the law. My know- 
ledge, gentlemen, relates to the sea : that is my 
sphere. If you want to know when the wind and 
tide suit for going down to Sandy Hook, I can tell 
you that. How can a captain of a ship know any 
thing of your demurrers in law ? 

3Ir, Smith, A master of the rolls is wanting, 
with an appeal to the governor and council. 

Sir Charles, I think so too ; but will the assem- 
bly support one ? May I expect success if I try it ? 

Mr, Murray. They don't love to part with money; 


and all agree that he could not flatter himself with 
any liberal provision for a new oflicer. 

Sir Charles, Can't you settle this matter, gen- 
tlemen, among yourselves ? I am sure you can, 
better than I can for you. 

Mr, Sfnith, No, sir; we are at variance, and 
must be determined by your opinion. 

Sir Charles, Can't you leave it to arbitration ? 

All, Not without the consent of our clients, and 
that we can't advise." 

Mr. Delancey came in, to the great joy of the 
governor, and the morning being spent, it was pro- 
posed to adjourn the hearing to another day. At 
parting, sir Charles said, ** I beseech you, gentle- 
men, to bring these kind of questions before me as 
seldom as possible. If you ever dispute about a 
fact, I can search the depositions, and perhaps tell 
who has the best of it ; but I know nothing of your 
points of law." The cause was afterwards debated, 
and a decree pronounced by Mr. Delancey, who 
dictated the entry to the register. The governor, 
who awkwardly sat by, interfered only to pronounce 
an "Amen." 

The assembly now instituted two bills for the 
support of government, one to discharge the arrears 
of the officers, tacking sums for other services, and 
another providing for the ensuing year. By the 
former, Mr. Delancey was to receive three thousand 
seven hundred and eighty-seven pounds sixteen 
shillings ; his brother Oliver, about four hundred 
pounds ; the agent, nine hundred and fifty-four 
pounds seventeen shillings ; the judges their arrears 
for two years; and the governor, iive hundred pounds 


for his voyage to Albany, and two hundred pounds 
more under the name of expenses in transporting 
presents to, and victualling the Indians at that place; 
and the latter was to operate as a confirmation of 
his title to the chief justice's commission, by a salary 
for the current year. This last was sent to the 
council on the 30th of January, and the former 
followed five days after it. 

Possessed of these bills, the council rejected a 
favourite five pound act ; and the very next day, the 
assembly played off their old artillery against Mr. 
Kennedy, by a message to the governor against the 
seizure of the gunpowder disputed and still unde- 
cided in the admiralty, and desiring him to complain 
of that as an injury to the colony, in a representation 
to the board of trade. The council, who were 
stimulated to the rejected bill, desired to know the 
state of one of theirs, to prevent supplies of pro- 
visions and warlike stores to the French ; and were 
answered that conceiving it to be impracticable to 
execute it, they declined any further proceedings 
iipon it.* 

Before the debt bill and that for the annual sup- 
port went up, the governor had requested the levy 
of one thousand men for the Crown Point expedition, 

* There has never been any process of outlawry in this colony, nor for want 
of the proper courts of law, as I can learn, ui any of the rest ; and yet, till the 
16th of February in this year, we had no law to oblige a single partner to 
answer for a joint debt without his fellow-contractors. By the act now, he is 
compellable to plead ; and if the plaintiff prevails, he recovers against the com- 
pany's lands and goods, but cannot have execution against the bodies of the 
absent partners, nor touch their seperate estates. That this novelty came into 
our code at so late a day, and has been since seldom practised upon, is a proof, 
especially considering the scant limits of the province, of the narrow sphere of 
our commerce- or of the uprightness of our merchants. 


and the house voted to raise and supply them : but 
halting to know the fate of these bills, and doing 
little for several days, while their party bills were in 
suspense in the upper house, sir Charles, on the 
16th of February, animadverted upon their delays 
and pressed for powers to detach the militia, if 
volunteers did not offer. It was three days after 
that before the quota bill made its appearance in 
the house : and when it had a second reading, they 
desired leave to adjourn from week to week, de- 
claring that they could not proceed further, till they 
knew the resolution of the other colonies concern- 
ing the intended enterprise. 

In this situation the governor withheld the war- 
rants for levying the troops; and being moved by 
the distresses on the frontiers of Ulster and Orange, 
ravaged by the Indians, he earnestly demanded 
their support for a force in conjunction with New- 
Jersey, to give security to those borders. To gain 
time, the turn given to this message was a resolu- 
tion to pay what may be deemed to be our quota of 
an army of one thousand men, to be raised by us, 
New-Jersey, and Pennsylvania, towards an expedi- 
tion against the Indians ; and he was desired to 
concert what was proper with those governments. 

Sir Charles, the next day, repeated his instances 
for their despatch of what respected the joint de- 
signs against Crow^n Point, and informed them that 
Massachusetts and Connecticut were levying men 
far beyond their proportions, that the service might 
not suffer by the defaults of any of the southern 
provinces ; and he now insisted upon the augmen- 
tation of their intended levy of one thousand men. 


From the 4th to the 16th of March, the assembly 
artfully met only to adjourn, and then voted seven 
hundred and fifteen men in addition to the one 
thousand, but that four hundred of these should be 
employed in an offensive war against the Indians ; 
and ordered proper clauses for these purposes to be 
added to the bill which they had so long retarded, 
under pretence of waiting for the co-operation of 
the other colonies respecting the Crown Point 
expedition, and which, by uniting the provision for 
both objects in one bill, was still longer delayed. 

The cruelties in the mean time perpetrated in 
Orange and Ulster, excited clamours in that quar- 
ter, and compassion every where else, and the 
house was censured by a publication in the Gazette 
of the 15th of March. Doctor Colden, who lived in 
Ulster, being suspected to be the author, the printers 
were summoned ; but the obnoxious composition 
being traced to Mr. Watkins, the wrath of the 
house vanished into smoke ; for he being an episco- 
pal clergyman, and the dissention running high 
between church and dissenter concerning the 
college, he was not even sent for to be reproved till 
the next autumn, though the two printers were 
ordered to be committed. This attack, however, 
quickened their motions; for on the 20th of March 
they sent up their quota bill for raising seventeen 
hundred and fifteen men. 

It lay eleven days with the council, where it was 
opposed by Mr. Smith and Dr. Colden, who came 
to town during the alarms occasioned by the Indian 
eruptions into Ulster. Before this time, the debt 


bill was in the governor's hands,* but stigmatized 
by the protest of Messrs. Smith and Golden in so 
pointed a manner, that sir Charles was fearful of 
giving it his assent. This was at length forced^ 
by the management of the house, who allowed a 
bounty of five pounds per man for the volunteers 
against Crown Point, but provided only thirty shil- 
lings for those who were to act in the harder 
service against the Indians ; and besides those 
troops were to be disbanded in forty days, and not 
at the governor's discretion — a confidence reposed 
by the province of New-Jersey in governor Belcher. 
The majority of the council adhered to the objec- 
tions of Doctor Colden, who spoke both his own 
and the governor's sentiments. Mr. Delancey, in 
this delicate situation of affairs, thought proper to 
absent himself; but finding means, by a member 
of the assembly, to inform the governor that this 
bill might be altered, if the debt bill was passed, 
his excellency, pressed by the advanced season of 
the year, engaged to pass the debt bill ; and the 
other being sent down, privately amended so as to 
take away his own and the objections of the council, 
the governor sent for both houses the next day, and 
passed all the bills ready, both parties being so 
well pleased with the late barter, as to part on an 
adjournment to the 27th of April. 

* " We are sitting still. The principal money bill which is for paying the 
debts of the rolony, and, among others, the salaries for the several officers of 
government for the time past, has passed the council, but has not yet received 
the governor's assent, and is therefore as yet in suspense. By the next packet, 
I may perhaps be able to inform you further, particularly with respect to the 
Jersey line, which is still under consideration." Mr. Jones's letter to the agents 
23d February, 1756. And on the 20th of July, 1756, he adds, » I have now the 
pleasure to acquaint you. that he has passed it.'' 


The opposition to the debt bill cost Mr. Alexan- 
der his life. He ventured out for that purpose in a 
paroxysm of the gout, took cold, and died the day 
after the session : and from that time the governor, 
who had such a demonstrative proof of the devotion 
of the assembly to the lieutenant-governor, as to 
obstruct the levies for the service until his interest 
was secured, in defiance of an instruction, and at 
the risk of the royal resentment, tamely resigned 
himself into his hands. 

It must, in justice to Mr. Delancey^ be added, 
as the sequel will evince by his policy, the colony 
obtained a victory over the government as well as 
the governor ; for after that day, the ministry gave 
up their objections to the popular project of the 
anti-Cosbian patriots, for holding the officers de- 
pendent upon the annual support of the assembly. 
But this assembly were nevertheless culpable, for 
slighting one of the most favorable opportunities 
for settling our contested limits, which have since 
produced such scenes of confusion and distress. 
Sir Charles, on the first of January, communicated 
to the house an instruction, urging a provision for 
one-half of the expense for adjusting the partition 
line with Jersey by commissioners; and at the same 
time informed them of general Shirley's readiness 
to procure the consent of Massachusetts bay, over 
which he then had a prevailing interest, to join 
in a like commission for ascertaining our eastern 
boundary. Intoxicated by the spirit of party, they 
lost an opportunity to give peace and safety to thou- 
sands, by a provision for terminati^ng that and the 
controversy we had also with New-Hampshire : but 

voT., rr. — f>6 


it was Mr. Delancey's ambition rather to create 
than to lessen dependencies on his will ; and the 
neglect of education left a hard, wicked colony, 
exposed to his arts. 

The delay occasioned by the late stratagem, and 
the hourly expectation of the general from Boston,* 
obliged the governor to call upon the assembly 
before the end of the month, for power to supply 
the want of volunteers by detachments, while the 
clog upon the operations of the four hundred men 
who were to be employed against the Indians by 
the quarrels between governor Morris and the Penn- 
sylvania assembly, prevented even the issuing of 
the military warrants for those recruits. Sir Charles 
therefore, asked for authority to detach men, that 
the four hundred might be joined to the quota for 
the Crown Point expedition, that provisions might 
be collected for troops expected from England, the 
rates of land carriage ascertained, and the northern 
militia relieved from unequal burdens in the general 

Within five days, laws were enacted to expedite 
the levies, and prevent the exportation of provisions, 
and the bill setting the price of transportation, 
brought in by Mr. Watts on the 4th of May, was 
the same day sent up to the council, and on the next 
passed by the governor — a velocity of proceeding, 
which if it demonstrates zeal for the service, proves 
that it sprang from very recent causes, which are 
left to the conjectures of the reader. 

* He arrived here 20th April, and sailed the 2d of May for Albany. Sir 
Charles's message was on the 29th of April. 


But this ardour to facilitate sir Charles's zeal, 
shortly after abated, upon the disgust he gave to 
the merchants, by his measures against the illicit 
commerce which had been long driven with Ham- 
burgh and Holland, and several seizures were now 
made by his order, which they ascribed to his loss 
of one of the independent companies. Nor was 
the dependence upon him so necessary, it being re- 
ported that the crown had relinquished the project 
of an indefinite support. Besides this, he was 
eclipsed by the new lustre of general Johnson,* 
who was knighted for his services, and our forces 
were abated by the arrival of general Webb on the 
7th of June, and the royal American officers on the 
15th, with general Abercrombie, the two regiments 
of Otways, and the Highlanders. 

On the 29th of June, sir Charles informed the 
assembly that the earl of Loudon was coming out 
to take the command of the army, and called upon 
them for aid in recruiting the two regular regiments 
with soldiers, who were to be discharged at the end 
of the war, and have each two hundred acres of land, 
free from quit-rent for ten years. 

He added, that the sum of one hundred and fif- 
teen thousand pounds was given by parliament to 
be distributed by the king among the New-England 
colonies, this, and the province of New-Jersey; that 
his majesty expected fresh aids of men for the 
operations of the year ; the reimbursement of mas- 

* His majesty has ordered £15,000 to New- York, £5,006 to major general 
Johnson, for his services, to whom hkewise a commission is issued for the 
superintendancy of the Indian affairs, with a salary of £600 per annum.— Ferf« 
mrent's letter, Uth March, 1756. 

284 HiSToui: op new-york. 

ters for servants enlisting in the army, and the 
prohibition of commerce with, and all supplies to, 
the enemy. 

The house resolved, that the colony had exerted 
itself by furnishing its proportion for the Crown 
Point expedition, the defence of the western fron- 
tiers, the march of many thousands of the militia 
on the attack of baron Dieskau, and this year on 
alarms to support the king's troops, posted to the 
westward, where a party was cut off;* and again to 
preserve fort William Henry when on the point of 
being abandoned by the garrison, composed of 
Massachusetts and Connecticut troops. That we 
raised first eight hundred, then five hundred, and 
afterwards four hundred men ; that £20,000 had 
been granted for fortifying the capital ; that a com- 
mon fund ought to be established. That we had 
given £5,000 to Virginia, and as much to be dis- 
posed of by general Braddock, and that till such an 
establishment, the colony was unable to do more. 
But they nevertheless approved of the payment for 
enlisted servants, and were for continuing the laws 
against supplies to the French, and these resolves 
they ordered to be published in the Gazette. 

About the same time sir Charles proposed to them 
an act for vacating the patents of Kayaderosseros, 
Cannojohary, and Oriskany, which has been repre- 
sented by the lords of trade, as obtained of the 
Indians by fraud, and that the declension of the In- 
dian interest was owing to their want of satisfaction. 

* A small garrison at a block-house, under lieutenant Bull, at the Oneida 
portage, where fort Stanwix was afterwards erected, was abandoned in March. 


Upon this subject they suspended any resolution 
till after this next meeting, considering it as a matter 
requiring most matuie deliberation ; and the day 
after (9th July) they adjourned, leaving a committee 
empowered to welcome the earl of Loudon, who was 
daily expected, to thank him for engaging in the 
service, and to provide for his honourable reception. 

This attack on the patents was ascribed to sir 
William Johnson, and gave general offence, and it 
was fortunate for the proprietors, that the Delancey 
family were interested in Oriskany, a very valuable 
tract embracing the banks of the Mohawk river, 
near the great transportation to the waters of the 
Wood creek. 

When the new generals arrived at Albany, Mr. 
Shirley returned on the 4th of July to New- York, 
and sir Charles on the 11th went up the river with 
Mr. Delancey and Mr. Chambers. Three days 
after the news arrived that war had been declared 
against France. Mr. Shirley waited till the arrival 
of the earl of Loudon on the 23d, who brought 
Mr. Pownal with him, and repaired to Albany on 
the 26th ; and on the 1st of August, Mr. Shirley 
sailed to Providence for Boston, and thence to 
England, and was followed a fortnight afterwards 
by Mr. Pownal, who had the promise of his 

Sir Charles returned to the metropolis on the 
15th of August, disgusted with the earl of Loudon, 
who had checked his intermeddling in military 
concerns, and denied his request of two indepen- 
dent companies for his guards. 

About this time Oswego was besieged, and lost to 


the general alarm of the colonies : general Webb, 
who was then posted at the Oneida carrying-place, 
was in such consternation, that he ordered trees to 
be filled in Wood creek to obstruct the progress of 
the enemy, if they shoukl attempt to penetrate that 
way, and the earl, in equal terror at Albany, pushed 
on sir William Johnson with the militia to sustain 
Webb, and ordered large drafts of others to follow 
him from Albany and Ulster, and importuned even 
the southern colonies for recruits. The panic was 
universal, and from this moment it was manifest 
that nothing could be expected from all the mighty 
preparations made for that campaign. 

It was at this juncture (24th September,) sir 
Charles administered the consolation he had for 
some time secreted, that the crown had in effect 
repealed the instruction to sir Danvers Osborn, 
which had given so much offence. 

Upon communicating the address of the 9th De- 
cember last, the lords were ordered to write, and 
did write, that the king, conceiving the present 
assembly unwilling to revive old claims and pre- 
tensions, and declaring that they did not mean to 
assume a share in the executive, but as he had 
represented were willing to promote the service of 
the crown, was now pleased to allow him to assent 
to their temporary bills for the support of government 
conformable in other respects to the instructions 
respecting the disposition of public money. 

He had before put into the treasury the share of 
the parliamentary donation of £15,000 sterling ;* 

* It was great negligence to omit upon the first advice of £15,00, the proper 
representations for the due distribution of it. When Mr. Jones complained of 


and now asked for an augmentation of salaries, a 
compensation for the militia on the late alarms, 
quarters for the troops, admitting the grants ob- 
jected to by the Indians, and recommended, as Mr. 
Delancey had done before, a stamp duty, an excise 
upon tea, and a poll tax upon negroes, with such 
others as the inhabitants could bear with the least 

The session continued with the utmost harmony 
to the 1st of December, when eleven acts were 
passed for a revenue by duties on imports, an excise 
on spirituous liquors and tea, to prolong the currency 
of the bills of credit, for billeting the troops, erect- 
ing a stamp office and a new jail, clothing the 
provincial levies, appropriating the college funds, 
paying off the last year's arrears of the officers of 
the government, and providing for the next. 

To reward the governor, and elude the instruc- 
tion and his receiving presents, they added £240 to 
the old allowance of £1560, assigning for a pretext 
the difference of exchange between the time of 
its first establishment as an equivalent for £1000 
sterling, and the present day, and though the inde- 
pendent companies were now embodied with the 
army, they put into his pocket £400 more, under 

it, the agent pertinently replied, 13th of August, 1756 : " How was it'possible 
to set this matter right without proper documents to show when the account 
was exaggerated ? I am not insensible of the present circumstances of New- 
England ; that want of commerce and employment has made them soldiers, that 
they are, in some measure, become the Swiss of the continent, in which quality 
they are not unacceptable here, and that they understand how to value their 
services. But as the military operations of the continent will require the further 
aids of this country, I cannot doubt that the account will be stated according to 
the service done and expense incurred, without any undue preference." 


the name of fuel and candle money for the fort, 
and by both the support bills gave Mr. Delancey a 
salary of £300 a year as chief justice. 

To find an apology for the governor's disregard 
of the instruction respecting the prolongation of 
the paper money, a committee of both houses put 
into his hands an argumentative address, assigning 
five reasons for the necessity of that act. Upon the 
strength of their victory in the establishment of the 
annual support, by which the governor was now 
bridled, having therefore no dread of an immediate 
dissolution, the house ventured implicitly to confirm, 
or rather to rid themselves of all further disputes 
respecting the college, which had kindled such a 
flame, that several thousands had petitioned* to be 
heard against any confirmation of the charter, which 
the lieutenant governor had formerly passed in its 
favour. That corporation had not only hopes of 
procuring a law to vest them with the sums raised 
by the lottery and excise, but of obtaining further 
aids, and a legislative confirmation of their charter. 
The consent of the assembly alone was wanting, 
for the new governor had, soon after his arrival, 
shown his favourable intentions by a donation of 
£500 to Mr. Delancey's institution. Its opposers 
therefore shrewdly conjectured that they could have 
no hope of erecting a university on the plan exhi- 
bited by the bill formerly proposed, printed, and 
slighted, and being contented to allow the college 
half of the money in bank, if the remainder was 
applied to any other public use. It was agreed in 

'■^' Vide .Toiimals of tho ars9inblr,lSth of December, 1755, 


the lobby to repeal the acts by which the whole 
was engaged for a college, and to divide the stock 
raised between the college party and the city cor- 
poration, for the purpose of erecting a jail, and 
providing a lodgment for crews of infected vessels* 
When Mr. Smith was asked in council for his voice 
on this bill, he said jestingly, " It rids us of a bone 
of contention by dividing it between the two pest 
houses." Both parties triumphed. The friends of 
the college wanted the money for the erection of 
the edifice, and their antagonists believed that 
having stigmatised its illiberal constitution, it would 
never in future receive any legislative support. Mr. 
Delancey, who proposed this partition to cement 
his party in the house, hoped also to repair the 
breaches upon his popularity without doors, and 
with the same view, or with a disgust at the impor- 
tunity of his friends, to whom he gave the charter 
unwillingly, he never afterwards would assist in 
forwarding the design; often saying, when sum- 
moned to their meetings, " that he had contributed 
enough to it by the loss of his reputation." 

If sir Charles had not been in the scheme of 
passing the bill, for prolonging the currency of the 
bills, by which £1800 was applied towards the pay- 
ment of the officers of the government, of which he 
had a share, he might have answered the objection 
of this want of funds, by pointing to the several 
thousands now given for a college, a jail, and a pest- 
house ; but it was expedient that he should " believe 
all our funds were exhausted, and the £15000 given 
to the colony, already in part applied for the support 
of its troops." 

VOL. IT. — 37 


The speaker's letter to the agent, of 13th Octo- 
ber, written with the assistance of a committee of 
the city members, Mr. Watts, Mr. Watson, Mr. 
Cruger and Mr. Delancey, who took Mr. Richard's 
place on the 9th November, holds up a picture of 
that day. "I acquainted you (2d July) that we 
were in great expectation of a successful campaign. 
But as our disappointment is rather greater than 
that of the last year, for instead of taking Grown 
Point, the enemy have made themselves masters of 
the important fortress of Oswego, taken the whole 
garrison prisoners of war, demolished all the forti- 
fications, carried away all the armed vessels, two 
hundred whale boats, cannon, provisions and war- 
like stores ; and this, it is said, they did in a few days 
time — a dishonour to the British name. Oh shame- 
ful behaviour of our forces ! We have now no foot- 
ing on Lake Ontario ; all is left to the uninterrupted 
possession of the enemy, who will doubtless dispos- 
sess us of all that we have remaining, if not sud- 
denly stopped. As for our forces on the northern 
frontier, both regulars and provincials, I expect to 
hear of no action by them, unless the enemy force 
them to it. If some more vigorous resolutions are 
Bot made in England, and seasonably executed, 
we must inevitably fall a prey to the prevailing 
power of France. We live in hopes that a vigorous 
push will be made for the reduction of Canada, 
which seems to be the only measure that can secure 
us. I told you in my letter 2d July, that you should 
have a just state of the expenses this year. I can- 
not at present enumerate any particulars, neither 
doe^ it appear necessary. We emitted £52,000 


bills of credit last spring, to be redeemed by taxes 
on estates, real and personal, which I expect will 
all be expended in the pay of our forces, and other 
necessaries attending this state of warfare, before 
the end of the year. Our governor has acquainted 
us with the alteration of the instruction relating 
to the permanent salary ; but at the same time 
insists upon a larger allowance than his prede- 
cessors have had, under pretence* of the alteration 
in value of our currency. How far this may occa- 
sion differences between him and the assembly I 
cannot yet foresee ; perhaps my next may inform 
you. Enclosed you have a note of the general 
assembly giving their thanks to Messrs. Hanburg 
and Tomlinson, merchants in London, for their ex- 
traordinary care with respect to the money granted 
by parliament, and you are desired to wait on those 
gentlemen with it. The assembly are now sitting, 
and when the session ends, I shall write further to 

The earl of Loudon, after the loss of Oswego, 
appeared intent upon proceeding to Crown Point. 

* The house the very nest day, voted on the 14th October, to his excellency 
the salary of £1560, and added these words — ^" which from the strictest inquiry, 
appears to be originally given as an equivalent for £1000 sterling, and in con- 
sideration of the difference in the value of the present currency of this colony, 
from what it was when the aforesaid salary was first settled, the further sum of 
£240." As this was the first article of a long report then perfected for all the 
salaries of the year, the speaker's expression is singular, after such a point had 
been carried in a committee of the whole house, and gives reason for the suppo- 
sition, that this correspondence is not always to be depended upon. Flushed 
with the success against the scheme of an indefinite support, and the necessity 
of the concurrence of the colony in the measures of the war, it was expedient to 
raise a belief that harmony depended upon the will of the idol of the party for 
securing his interest ; and the whole letter was doubtlesp written to make impres- 
sions disadvantageous to Mr. Shirley, who sailed from Boston on the pre^edipf*- 
^SXh September. 


Sir William Johnson was called to muster the 
Indians, to co-operate in that enterprise, but whether 
from an aversion to that new kind of warfare, or 
from motives of deep and remote policy, these tribes 
were languid, and but forty-two could be collected. 
Ashamed of such a handful, thirty-five of whom were 
the domiciliated Indians of Stockbridge, recruited 
by Mr. Wraxall, the secretary for Indian affairs, and 
just rewarded as captain of a company of indepen- 
dents, for his services as aid-de-camp at the action 
at lake George, and to whose blazoned accounts, 
sir William owed his knighthood, they were led 
to fort Edward by the private route of Sacondaga. 
The earl despised their succours, damned the Indian 
interest as a bubble, and retired to Albany for the 
winter cantonment of his troops. 

Of these he sent a thousand to New- York, dis- 
persed others in the neighbouring provinces, and 
left a surcharge in Albany, insisting upon new 
quarters, which gave rise to loud clamours. 

The magistrates of the capital had crowded the 
privates into the barracks, and left the officers, 
about fifty, to find lodgings for themselves. When 
the earl came down in December, he sent for Mr. 
Cruger, the mayor, and insisted that the officers of 
every rank should be exempted from expense, and 
to sooth him alleged that this was every where the 
custom; and that he had in consideration of our 
efforts, put the army to inconveniences by so wide 
a dispersion, but signified, that if he made difl^cul- 
ties, he would convene all his troops here and billet 
them himself. 

The mayor desired time to consult the body over 


which he presided. The death of his sister made 
it necessary to apologise for the delay of the answer 
until her funeral obsequies were performed. But 
his lordship insisted upon a speedy compliance, and 
told the committee he would meet them on the 
subject ; and to convince them that free quarters 
were every where usual, he would assert it upon his 
honour, " which (says he) is the highest evidence 
you can require." The demand took air ; the 
citizens raved, and the corporation, consisting gene- 
rally of elective officers, were at their wit's ends, 
concerning the course to be pursued. They flew 
to the governor, but he answered them with reserve, 
caution, and duplicity : they called a meeting with 
the judges and city members : — Mr. Deiancey did 
not attend till the second convention, and excused 
himself from giving an extra judicial opinion, but 
it was supposed that Mr. Watts spoke' his mind in 
favour of the people. The act lately passed, gave 
authority to billet first upon inns, and the surplus 
upon private houses ; but supposing the inhabitants 
were to be paid, authorized the magistrates to rate 
the allowance : beyond that, the magistrates durst not 
interfere through dread of prosecutions. A com- 
mittee was appointed to his lordship, and another 
to present a memorial to the governor, imploring 
his mediation, and asserting that free quarters were 
against the common law, and the petition of rights, 
the Stat. 21. Car. II. and the mutiny and desertion 
act ; and that the colonists were entitled to all the 
rights of Englishmen. The governor escaped, for 
as soon as the earl saw the opinion of the corpora- 
tion, he replied to the mayor, who alone was ad- 


mitted to his presence, *' God d n my blood ! 

if you do not billet my officers upon free quarters 
this day, Fll order here all the troops in North 
America under my command, and billet them myself 
upon this city." The magistrates, countenanced by 
the conscious dread and impotency of the citizens, 
promoted a subscription to defray the expense, and 
a calm ensued ; but with a general abhorrence of 
the oppressor, who soon after proceeded through 
Connecticut to Boston. 

That the minister may not impute the loss of 
Oswego to the colony» Mr. Jones writes to the 
agent : " You have doubtless by this time heard of 
the unaccountable loss of Oswego ; since which the 
enemy have made no further attempts upon us, nor 
we upon them ; so that Crown Point fort remains 
still in their hands, and both sides are drawn into 
winter quarters. What the next summer will pro- 
duce, the Almighty only knows. I assure you, 
our situation is now extremely distressing. This 
province being the principal seat of the present 
war in America, is harassed and burdened in all 
shapes : soldiers quartered upon us without pay — 
our horses and carriages, some broke, some burned 
and destroyed by the enemy — our militia frequently 
harassed by alarms, now necessitated to make large 
marches, some to support the army on the north, 
others to repel the Indians from the western fron- 
tiers. Thus harassed, our people cannot attend to 
their usual occupations, and numbers are soon 
likely to be great sufferers, and to become a burden 
to the rest. To this may be added another heavy 
article of expense, viz. the great number of French 



sent here from Nova Scotia by governor Lawrence, 
and the prisoners taken at the battle of lake George, 
in September, 1 755, with a number of others brought 
in here, as well by the Nightingale man of war, as 
by privateers. The expense attending all articles, 
you will easily see must be very great. Our fifty-two 
thousand pounds are all called for, and we are obliged 
to break in upon the present made us by parliament, 
which, in this expensive state of things, cannot last 
long ; and unless we have the further aid of our 
mother country, we must sink under the weight of 
these excessive pressures. Our session is tolerably 
well ended, the support bill being put in the usual 

On the 16th February, 1757, sir Charles inform- 
ed his assembly at Flatbush, that reinforcements 
were coming out; that the people of the Massa- 
chusetts bay were to contribute, and pressed the 
immediate levying of our quota ; renewed his im- 
portunity for money to settle the partition line with 
New-Jersey and the Massachusetts bay, blood 
having been lately spilled in the manor of Living- 
ston; and pursued his object for the vacating of 
the patents, which he was pleased to call exorbi- 
tant grants. They promised their proportion for the 
prosecution of the war, to avoid the imputation of 
being instrumental in their own ruin by tedious de- 
lays and resolutions, or an ill-timed parsimony ; but 
waived any provision for the settlement of lines* till 

* A long memorial, drafted by Mr. Scott, to urge the assembly to make the 
controversy with New-Jersey a provincial charge, and presented the 13th of 
February, 1756, was now printed, on the motion of Mr. Oliver Delancey, who 
was not then become interested as a proprietor of New-Jersey, 


they could say with propriety that we had lands to 
divide : intimated that the quit-rents were a proper 
fund to defray that expense ; and respecting the 
grants, informed him that they were purchased by 
considerable sums, paid not only to the Indians, 
but the officers of government, in fees equal often 
to the value of the land granted ; that what he 
urged was a proceeding harsh and dangerous, and 
now not necessary, as the Indians were not ob- 
structed in the use of the land ; and that they 
thought it of more consequence to lay out a line of 
townships on the frontiers, to be given to settlers 
without fee or reward ; and, as the small-pox then 
compelled them to sit out of town, they wished to 
attend only to what respected the war. 

They continued together only ten days, and pro- 
vided for levying one thousand men, to act with 
four thousand from the Massachusetts bay, under 
his lordship's command, " which," says the speaker, 
26th February, '*is our full proportion, according 
to the plan of unions and was all his lordship 

The amount appropriated for this purpose, was 
twenty-one thousand three hundred and sixty-nine 
pounds, twelve shillings and two pence ; and the 
parliamentary present of fourteen thousand three 
hundred and twenty-three pounds, fifteen shillings 
and three-pence, sterling, which I mention as a 
detection of the artifices in the reasons given by 
both houses for passing the late bill for prolonging 
the paper currency, and the speaker's suggestions 
of the distress of the colony. 





This was sir Charles's last interview with the 
assembly ; for after that, he hoisted his flag as rear 
admiral of the blue, with a command in the expedi- 
tion against Louisburg. He embarked on the 2d of 
July, at midnight, and left the government in the 
hands of Mr. Delancey, who took the oaths the next 
morning. The inattention of the assembly at this 
time to the boundaries of the colony, was very inex- 
cusable. The Jersey proprietors took advantage of 
it and urged their contempt of the royal instruction 
as a reason for ordering a temporary line, according 
to the observations of 1719, as the partition, until 
this colony provided a moiety of the expense for 
settling the boundaries by commissioners. 

For the operations in this quarter, his lordship 
left an army of five or six thousand men, under the 

VOL. IT. — 38 


command of General Webb ; two thousand three 
hundred of these were posted at the south end of 
Lake Georjre, fifteen hundred at fort Edward, and 
the residue were scattered at Saratoga, Stillwater, 
Albany, Mount Hanson, and at Herkimer, in the 
country of the Mohawks. There were some who 
censured his leaving the frontiers in so weak a state 
of defence, and still more the wide dispersion of the 
troops ; conceiving that they all should have been 
divided between the two great carrying-places on 
the north, from Hudson's river to Lake George, and 
between the Mohawk river and Wood creek on the 
west, prepared for either of the two entrances of the 
enemy by Ontario or Champlain. 

Mr. Webb knew in July, that Mr. Montcalm, who 
succeeded baron Dieskau, had collected several 
thousand men and three hundred flat boats at St. 
Johns, and that the enemy were daily filing off from 
Crown Point to Ticonderoga, and communicated 
this intelligence to Mr. Delancey, adding, that he 
expected an attack. Ten days afterwards, (3d 
August) an express arrived with the further advice 
that the enemy were on the 30th July within twelve 
miles of fort William. On the 5th Mr. Delancey 
embarked for Albany, and the day after we learnt 
that the fort was invested on the 2d, and complaints 
were made from above of the dilatory motions of the 
militia. Mr. Delancey arrived at Albany the 8th, 
and from thence issued orders for detachments from 
below. The New- York militia was drawn out for 
that purpose on the 13th. The horse and volunteers 
marched the same day, but the main body of seven 
hundred did not embark till some days after. While 


these things were transacting on the sea coast, the 
garrison capitulated on the 9th, engaging not to bear 
arms in eighteen months. 

Lord Howe got to fort Edward on Saturday, the 
7th, but the besieged had no assistance, for the 
enemy came, 11,000 strong, and our whole force in 
the lines about fort Edward did not amount, till the 
10th, to more than 6,000. 

Mr. Fitch, the governor of Connecticut, had no 
intelligence of this descent till the 6th of August ; 
but then ordered every fourth man of the colony to 
march up : 4,000 were to be detached from New 
Jersey ; and Mr. Kilby, the contractor, arriving at 
New- York on the 14th, for provisions to support the 
multitudes who were on the way to Albany, it was 
conjectured that Mr. Webb meant to take that op- 
portunity of advancing immediately to Crown Point, 
till Mr. Oliver Delancey, who had been despatched 
4hat day from Albany, arrived on the 1 8th at New- 
York, and had stopped the progress of the reinforce- 
ments, and on the 22d the lieutenant-governor 
returned to the metropolis. 

Mr. Webb's letter to colonel Munroe, of the 4th, 
advising him to make the best terms he could, and 
that he was unable to help him, through the tardy 
motions of the militia, was intercepted by the enemy 
and not sent until the 7th. When the garrison ca- 
pitulated, the trenches were opened almost up to 
the east bastion of the fort, and by the bursting of 
a cannon colonel Munroe had but four left, with a 
mortar and only seventeen shells, and a very small 
quantity of powder. 

The garrison were to march out with the honourig 


of war, their whole regiment and one piece of 
ordnance, and to protect them from the Indians, 
were to be escorted two miles by five hundred men, 
and these renewed by as many from fort Edward. 
But the baggage was afterwards given up by Mr. 
Montcalm's advice, to satisfy the French Indians, 
and yet they were so unmanageable after the plun- 
der as to butcher our negroes, and to attack even 
the soldiers. After the demolition of the fort, the 
French retired to Ticonderoga, and Mr. Webb 
then dismissed the twenty thousand men he had 
collected at fort Edward, before his countermand 
of the provincial reinforcements. 

While the regulars and militia mutually reproach- 
ed each other for the late disaster, there were some 
who blamed Mr. Delancey for slighting general 
Webb's first intimations, and others who insisted 
that the general was strong enough to march to 
the besieged forty-eight hours before the surrender. 
The general being supported by the British troops, 
and the lieutenant-governor apprehending conse- 
quences unfriendly to his interest on the other side 
of the water, naturally looked to his assembly, and 
the instant he arrived, despatched circular letters 
for their convention ; and, on the 2d, sent them a 
message historical of his conduct. Having alleged 
that the king had permitted sir Charles Hardy to 
resign his government, and having noticed his de- 
parture, he proceeds in these words : 

" Soon after which, apprehending a visit from the 
enemy on our northern frontiers, I thought it ne- 
cessary to take all the measures in my power to 
strengthen general Webb ; and for this purpose I 


sent out my orders to the colonels of the militia of 
Albany, Dutchess, Ulster, and that part of Orange 
county above the mountains, to march with their 
regiments to the assistance of general Webb, upon 
his requisition, and to obey his orders, of which I 
gave him notice by letter. In the night of the 3d 
August last, I received a letter from general Webb 
of the 30th July, advising me that the enemy were 
within twelve miles of fort William Henry, that he 
should immediately call in the troops at the different 
posts on Hudson's river, and gave orders for the 
militia of the counties to march, and desiring my 
presence at Albany to forward them. I set out for 
that place on the 5th, which was as soon as I pos- 
sibly could, and arrived there the 8th. On the 
10th I had advice of the surrender of fort William 
Henry, and as it was reasonable to think the enemy, 
with so formidable an army and such a train of 
artillery as they were said to have, would endeavour 
to penetrate farther into this country, I sent orders 
for a detachment of five hundred men from the city 
of New-York, and West-Chester, who showed a 
very becoming spirit on this occasion. Those above 
the highlands had marched in consequence of my 
former orders, on general Webb's requisition, and 
many proceeded to fort Edward, but after a short 
stay, general Webb informed me that all the militia 
except those from the county of Albany, had united 
in a mutinous manner. I did all I could to stop 
them, but with little success. This step, whether 
arising from cowardice or disgust, or whatever other 
motive, deserves a very severe animadversion, more 
especiaily as it was taken up at a time when the 


enemy were still at fort William Henry, (only four- 
teen miles distant from fort Edward,) the most 
advanced post we had in that quarter of the country. 
I shall order a strict inquiry to be made into the 
behaviour of the militia, and cause the law to be 
put into execution against all delinquents. I left 
Albany the 21st, and as soon as I came to New- 
York, I ordered circular letters to be sent, to call 
you together as soon as possible ; one of the reasons 
of which was, to recommend to you the completing 
the regiments in the pay of this province with the 
utmost speed, general Webb having written to the 
other governments to complete theirs, as the troops 
under his command were very much less^ened : this 
was a measure apparently necessary at that time; 
but as his excellency the right honourable the earl 
of Loudon, commar der-in-chief of his majesty's 
forces in North America, is arrived here with a body 
of troops, the necessity of this measure ceases. The 
other reasoL of my calhng you is, to recommend to 
you a further provision for the subsistence of the 
New- York regiments." 

The house only gave a vote of credit the next 
day, to provide after the first of November for pay 
due after that period, and adjourned. 

The agent by his despatches of the 16th Feb- 
ruary, had communicated a copy of the New- Jersey 
petition for a temporary line, and the report of the 
board of trade upon it of the 27th January, 1757, 
advising an order for running the line prayed for ; 
and first, that the governors of the two provinces be 
commanded to suppress and prevent all tumults on 
the borders : — second, that all possessions remain in 


Statu quo : — third, that the governor of New- York 
issue patents for vacant lands on the north side of 
the temporary line, and that the proprietors grant 
on the south, making a deposit of the profits : — and 
fourth, that six months be allowed to New-York 
to provide for the expense of a final line. The re- 
port recited that the allegations of the proprietors 
bad been verified by sir Charles Hardy, and that Mr. 
Charles, styling himself agent for the assembly of 
New- York, owned that he had no authority to join 
in the expense of a commission, and therefore, had 
submitted to such directions respecting a temporary 
line, as to his majesty should seem proper. The 
agent wrote, " I prayed for further time before their 
lordships proceeded upon the petition, in hopes of 
hearing the resolution of your house, touching the 
method you proposed for the division of this matter, 
as I have repeatedly applied to you for explicit and 
positive directions herein, but remaining hitherto 
without any instruction on that head, and reflecting 
that by the act passed in your colony, (though 
disallowed here) you had left the establishment of 
the line of property, as well as of jurisdiction, to the 
direction of his majesty, it was not practicable for 
me to oppose a temporary line of jurisdiction, or to 
prevent the issue this affair has taken." 

Nor was the assembly at the same time unapprised 
of the expediency of some alteration of the eastern 
boundary, disputed by the Massachusetts bay ; for 
Mr. Charles, on the 11th of May, added, "I am now 
to acquaint you, that upon the representation of 
sir Charles Hardy to the lords of trade, of divers 
outrages committed on the borders, between your 


colony and the Massachusetts bay, by his letter 
of the 22d December last, accompanied with a 
report of your commissioners at Albany, in 1754, 
and a map of the country, all which have been 
communicated to the respective agents, and having 
attended their lordships on the subject, where I 
endeavoured to show the inclinations of your pro- 
vince to bring this matter to an amicable accom- 
modation ; first, by imparting to the governor of the 
Massachusetts bay, the claims of New- York, as 
stated in the report of the committee of your 
council, of the 28th February, 1753, which were 
rejected by the commissioners of the Massachusetts 
bay, without any reason assigned, or their stating 
their own claims and pretensions, their lordships 
delivered their opinion of a boundary line, proper 
to be established between the two governments, as 
contained in an extract of their lordships' journal, 
whereof I send a copy enclosed, touching which it 
is probable I may receive the sentiments of your 
colony before the report of the board obtains the 
sanction of the king in council." 

The extract was in these words — " Extract of 
the journals of the proceedings of the lords on 
Tuesday, the 27th March, 1757. 

" Their lordships took into consideration the 
papers relating to the dispute between the province 
of New- York and Massachusetts bay, concerning 
their boundary line ; and the agents attending as de- 
sired, were called in, and their lordships after having 
heard what they had to offer, and read and consi- 
dered the grant to the duke of York, in 1663-4, and 
the Massachusetts charter, granted in 1691, and 


also a letter from colonel Nicholls, governor in New- 
York, to the duke of York, dated in November, 
1665, to hear and determine certain points in dis- 
pute among the New-England governments, which 
papers are upon record in this office; delivered it 
to be their opinion that a straight line, to be drawn 
northerly from that point where the boundary line 
between New-York and Connecticut ends, at twenty 
miles distance from Hudson's river, to another point 
at the same distance from the said river, on that 
line which divides the provinces of New-Hamp- 
shire and Massachusetts bay, will be a just and 
equitable line of division between the said province 
of New- York and the Massachusetts bay; and Mr. 
Bollan being asked if he had any objections thereto, 
desired time to consider of it, and that he might 
have their lordships' opinion in writing, and also 
copies of their authorities upon record, on which 
that opinion was founded, which was agreed to by 
their lordships, and that copies should be likewise 
given to Mr. Charles, agent for New- York, and then 
the agents withdrew. Governor Nicholls' letter was 
this : 

" I have formerly rendered account of the divi- 
sion and settlement of bounds between your royal 
highness and the patent of Connecticut, made by 
his majesty's commissioners and the governor and 
council of Connecticut, wherein five towns were re- 
linquished in Connecticut by virtue of their former 
grant from his majesty ; although the said tracts of 
land were given to your royal highness to the utter 
ruin of that colony, and a manifest breach of their 
letters patent, which determination was a leading- 

VOL. II, — 39 

306 ni.>TOR\ OF ,yi:w-yoR:i. 

case of equal justice, and of great good conse- 
quence in all the colonies ; and therefore we were 
assured would be acceptable service to your royal 
highness, so that to the east of New-York and 
Hudson's river, nothing considerable remains to 
your royal highness, except Long Island and about 
twenty miles from any part of Hudson's river. I 
look therefore upon all the rest as empty name, and 
places possessed forty years since by former grants, 
and of no consequence to your royal highness, 
except all New-England could be brought to submit 
to your royal highness's patent." 

The report of the commissioners appointed in 
1664 to visit the New-England governments, relat- 
ing to the bounds of the Massachusetts colony, was 
also transmitted by the agent, running thus : 

" This colony, which has engrossed the whole 
trade of New-England, is therefore the richest ; 
hath many towns, but not one regularly built within 
its just limits ; which the commissioners find to be 
Siwanet brook on the south-west, and Merrimack 
river on the north-east ; and two right lines drawn 
from each of those two places, till they come within 
twenty miles of Hudson's river, for that river is 
already planted and given to his royal highness." 

The speaker's letter of September 12th, acknow- 
ledges the receipt of these letters, adding, " I am 
to acquaint you that you are fallen greatly under 
the censure of the general assembly, for not object- 
ing to the line of the year 1617, being the tempo- 
rary line of jurisdiction between this colony and 
that of New- Jersey, as you were long since well 
informed that this colony always rejected that line. 


A committee is appointed to examine and consider 
the New- Jersey petition on that head, and to give 
proper instructions upon it." This is proved by the 
journal. But why another was not charged with 
the care of the proprietors, affected by an opinion 
of the lords of trade, I leave to the reader's con- 
jectures, after remarking that the Delancey family, 
who were interested in the New-Jersey controversy, 
had not the same motives to stimulate their attention 
to that with the Massachusetts bay, and were per- 
haps disinclined to counteract Mr. Secretary Pow- 
nal, who, to ingratiate his brother with the people 
over whom he was set, discovered a great desire to 
abridge the old claim of New-York to all the country 
between this twentv mile line and Connecticut 
river. Mr. Jones, indeed, leads Mr. Charles to 
expect a letter upon this subject, from the New- 
York commissioners, but the journal does not war- 
rant his suggestion. The committee on the other 
subject were the interested members of New-York 
and Orange county, who sharply reprehended the 
agent for not opposing the report respecting a tem- 
porary line, in a letter drafted by Mr. Scott, 25th 
October : but the house would have better consulted 
the interests of the colony, by bills providing for 
the expense of commissioners for settling all their 
contested limits, though the session, instead of two, 
had been prolonged ten days. 

The board of trade shortly after changed their 
opinion, and adopted a still more disadvantageous 
one to this colony, as appeared by the following 
extract from their journals of 10th May, 1751 : 

"The secretary acquainted their lordships, that 


having, in consequence of their orders, communi- 
cated to Mr. Bollan, agent for the Massachusetts 
bay, their resolution of the 27th March last, with res- 
pect to the boundary line between the said province 
and New-York ; he acquainted him that upon con- 
sideration thereof, and of the papers relating to the 
adjustment of the line between the province of New- 
York and Connecticut, he had found that though it 
did appear to have been the primary intention in 
that settlement, that the line should be twenty miles 
from Hudson's river, yet the province of New- York, 
having agreed that Connecticut should continue in 
possession of the town of Greenwich, and a tract of 
land adjacent thereto, at the south end of the line, 
the province of Connecticut had, in consideration 
thereof, yielded to them a tract of land lying upon the 
northern part of said line, commonly called the Ob- 
long ; so that in his apprehension, the said boundary 
line was at more than twenty miles distance from 
the said Hudson's river ; and therefore he submitted 
whether the drawing the boundary line between 
New- York and Massachusetts bay from the north 
end of the said Connecticut line, as described in the 
board's resolution of the 27th March, would not be 
in some measure inconsistent with the facts and 
evidence upon which that resolution was founded, 
and thought it necessary to have their lordships' 
sentiments upon this matter, before he could form 
any opinion upon the general proposition. 

" Their lordships, upon consideration of what 
had been represented by Mr. Bollan, agreed, that a 
straight line, to be drawn northerly from a point on 
the soutfi boundary line of tlie Massachusetts bay. 


twenty miles distant, due east from Hudson's river, 
on that line which divides the provinces of New- 
Hampshire and Massachusetts bay, will be a just 
and equitable line of division between the said pro- 
vinces of New- York and Massachusetts bay." 

This opinion being approved by the privy council, 
and producing a letter from the secretary of state, 
recommending that line to both provinces, the sequel 
will show that we never could remove this obstacle 
to the extent of our claim, even so far eastward as 
to cover several ancient patents under this colony. 

The disgrace incurred by the British troops, 
silenced their invectives. His lordship had done 
nothing against Louisburgh, and was censured by 
his whole army. On the first intelligence of Mont- 
calm's attack, he wrote to Mr. Pownal, who had 
lately arrived as governor at Boston, that he intended 
to encamp on Long Island for the defence of the 
continent; and that governor, on the other hand, 
was in such consternation, as to give orders for the 
driving in all the live stock in the west, to the east 
side of Connecticut river ; and it had taken air, that 
Mr. Webb had intimidated his troops, by sending 
his own baggage to Albany, declaring his intention 
of retreating one hundred and sixty miles down the 
river to the highlands, and within sixty miles of the 
metropolis of the province. What impression the 
assembly wished to make at this time in England, 
appears from the speaker's letter to the agent of the 
12th of September : "As to our military operations, 
we are still on the losing side, fort William Henry, 
on the back of lake George, being taken and demo- 
lished by the enemy, after a siege of eight days, 


With no great loss of men on either side. It surren- 
dered on capitulation, by which the French became 
masters of the fort, artillery, and all the stores. Here 
were lod^red all our cannon and stores intended 
against Crown Point. My lord Loudon is arrived 
from Halifax, without any attempt on that side. It 
is said the enemy were superior to us both in land 
and sea forces. Thus, this campaign is like to end 
as did the last, with loss to poor America. It seems 
very strange to us, that the French can send such 
large supplies to America and always before us, 
notwithstanding the great superiority of the British 
navy. Surely there must be a great failure some- 
where, which if not timely remedied, may probably 
end in the entire loss of the English America. 
However, we live still in hopes that the next year's 
succours will be stronger and arrive earlier, our 
provincial forces were ready in April, so that no 
blame can be at our doors. I wish my next may 
give you better tidmgs." 

Mr. Delancey's vindicatory speech was the more 
necessary, as he knew that his public conduct had 
of late been narrowly watched, and his arts during 
general Shirley's command were disclosed by a 
pamphlet, published in London, under the title of 
" A review of the military operations in North 

Mr. Charles, in a private letter to the speaker, of 
the 11th May, accompanying a copy of it, writes: 
" There has lately been published here, a piece 
which I shall send you, entitled, a review, &c. This 
production comes from New-York, and has been 
handed to the press by Mr. Alexander, as he ac- 


knowledged to Mr. Pownal, secretary to the board 
of trade There is a virulency against several pri- 
vate characters, and some reflections on the pro- 
ceedings of your association, extremely indecent. 
I believe the governor of Massachusetts bay is put 
in a fair way, by his brother, of discovering the 

No reply w^as ever made to it. Mr. Jones' letters 
take no notice of it. Secretary Pownal, by menac- 
ing Dodsley, the printer, traced it to Mr. William 
Alexander, who denied his being the author ; but 
asserted that he knew most of the suggestions to 
be true, as well as the facts alleged, which con- 
vinced him that his brother, the governor, for whom 
he interposed, deserved the character it exhibited. 
The pamphlet coming out when America was little 
known, and transactions here still less, was univer- 
sally read and talked of in London, and worked 
consequences of private and public utility. 

General Shirley emerged from a load of obloquy.* 
His extensive designs acquired advocates ; his suc- 
cessors became cautious and vigilant ; the nation 
suspicious and inquisitive ; his assembly awed ; party 
spirit less assuming, and the multitude so enlight- 
ened that several changes were made on the next 

The inefficacy of the measures hitherto pursued 
in America, filled the colonies with distrust; but 
few discerned the true cause of our disasters. They 

* A board of general officers had been ordered to inquire into his conduct, 
and the secretary at war was commanded to make out the warrant for it. Mr. 
Shirley often urged for it, and after repeated applications was told that it 
could not be done, since Ih^re was nothing charffed against him. 


are hinted at in a letter of that day : — *"To the 
scandal of the present age will history account 
these losses, sustained by a people who had it in 
their power to extirpate the whole French colony 
at their pleasure. You know, and every man here 
knows, that we might have raised forty thousand 
men on such a design, if our strength was united, 
a number equal to all the males in Canada. That 
union can in a moment be effected, by a law for the 
establishment of an American parliament. While 
each colony is left to divert itself with its private 
contentions, the common interest must suffer ; 
whereas a convention of members from each, for a 
general representation of all, would extinguish the 
party disputes now subsisting. Pennsylvania, a 
colony of fifty thousand fighting men, must then 
do her part ; and when that day dawns, the little 
tyrants of the respective colonies will die away with 
these projects, and our affairs be well understood in 
England. You have a board of trade, and their 
lordships are presumed to have the best acquaint- 
ance with the true state of America. We have 
fifteen colonies on the continent alone ; each three 
separate branches of the legislature, all transmitting 
their several acts, votes, &c. to the plantation office. 
These must all be read for information concerning 
our state. But is it possible for that board to take 
even a cursory perusal of the papers transmitted ? 
and yet something more than that is necessary. I 
conclude from these premises, that their lordships 
do not know the state of America. Consider, be- 

* It wap written by the autlior, Auffust. 1757, to a gentleman in London. 


sides, that their acts affect a body which is in to-day 
but out to-morrow; — and if they are uninformed 
what must be the consequence ? A law for the 
establishment of a union, I know, requires the ablest 
heads. Parliament is sufficient for the task. The 
defects of the first plan will be supplied by expe- 
rience. The British constitution ought to be the 
model ; and from our knowledge of its faults, the 
American one may, perhaps, rise with more health 
and soundness in its first contexture, than Great 
Britain will ever enjoy." 

The earl went to Albany on the 20th of Octo- 
ber,* and thence for a few days visited fort Edward, 
and there met colonel Peter Schuyler, who was 
made prisoner at the surrender of Oswego. He 
left Quebec the 22d October, and reached New- 
York the 19th November, upon his parole, to return 
in May unless a cartel was settled. The troops 
from Halifax, on their return, were immediately 
ordered to Albany. His lordship posted but one 
hundred and fifty men at Herkimer, a little fort about 
one hundred miles west of Albany ; and Montcalm, 
taking advantage of their public influence on the 
Six Nations, debauched fiwe hundred from the four 
remote cantons of the Oneidas, Onondagas, Cayu- 
gas and Senecas, to join a French party, who fell 
upon the German Flats on the 15th of November, 
massacred some carried others into captivity, and 
broke up several families of that settlement ; and 
thus ended the unfortunate year of 1757. His 

* Governor Morris sailed for England 4th October, to animate the adminis- 
tration to an expedition against Canada. 

VOL. TT. — 40 


lordship cantoned his troops in several of the pro- 
vinces with such a magisterial tone as gave fresh 
and general offence ; but from the civil department 
he met with no opposition : — their pusillanimity or 
their interests, made them silent and inactive until 
the multitude exulted at the news, which not long 
after arrived, of his being recalled to England. 

Before the close of this unfortunate year, Mr. 
Delancey had another interview with his assembly. 

The small-pox prevailing in the centre of the 
capital, he convened them in the suburbs, and as it 
was ludicrously said, at his own kitchen. The truth 
is, they met on the 6th December in an out-house 
occupied by the overseer of his own farm upon the 
skirts of the town. 

One of the main designs w^as to procure an 
indemnity for himself and the council, for diverting 
£2000, which had been appropriated for fortifica- 
tions, from that use, for the construction of barracks, 
that private families might be delivered from the 
inconvenience of the soldiers billetted upon them 
by the noble general at the head of the army, and 
which they ventured to draw out of the treasury 
at the request of the city corporation, who had en- 
gaged to replace it ; but he held up other objects 
to their attention. The salaries of the year, the 
defence of the western frontiers, the maintenance 
of the prisoners, restraining the king's troops from 
intemperance, the regulation of the staples of flour, 
beef, pork, and butter, a stricter militia law, the con- 
tinuance of the excise upon tea and the stamp duty, 
a poll tax upon negro slaves, and a tonnage duty on 
all vesseli?, not excepting those from Great Britain. 


Several laws for ordinary cases were passed 
towards the end of the month, and among them 
one to prolong the currency of the bills of credit, the 
royal inhibition notwithstanding, without the least 

To the lieutenant-governor the assembly gave 
an augmented salary of £1800, and £400 more 
under the pretext of fire and light for the indepen- 
dent companies now scattered through the provinces, 
and the sum of £50 was added to the puisne judges' 
salaries, as a consideration for their extraordinary 
services, unassisted as they were, by the chief 
justice's absence from the bench. And the day 
before they rose, care was taken to order the 
speaker to write to sir Charles Hardy, who went 
from Halifax to England, to answer, as it was 
conjectured, the double purpose of preserving his 
commission and prolonging his return. 

Mr. Jones's letter was doubtless very agreeable 
to our admiral, just arrived from an unsuccessful 
expedition. I transcribe it here, and insert beneath 
the one to the agent that covered it.* 

* Sir — Enclosed jou have a letter to sir Charles Hardy, our late governor, 
which you are to deliver to him with your own hands, and to consult and 
advise with him in affairs relating to this colony. We are greatly surprised to 
find that their lordships for trade and plantations, have made a second report to 
his majesty on the affair of the Massachusetts line, by which we shall be great 
losers, because by the course of Hudson''s river, a due east line from the stations, 
we are to run from and to, will fall some miles short of twenty which by the first 
report we were to have. You are therefore to use your best endeavours to pre- 
vent such a loss to this colony. The committee and commissioners will write 
more largely to you on this head. We are also greatly surprised, that this affair 
should be transacted without your privity, (which we must suppose to be the 
case) because you have given us no notice of it. If you knew of it, you have been 
greatly deficient in your duty, and are justly liable to censure for not opposing 
it, and acquainting us with it. The house have not yet finished the business 
before them, and are to nreet soon after the holidays. After that I expect to 


" New-York, 24th Dec. 1757- 


" By the enclosed minutes you will see the autho- 
rity I have to write to you in the name of the general 
assembly of this his majesty's colony ; and I assure 
you sir, that it is with the utmost pleasure I execute 
this authority, in a grateful acknowledgment of 
your past and steady attention to the public service 
of the colony from the first moment of your arrival 
in it. My station of speaker to the general assem- 
bly during your whole administration, furnished me 
with frequent opportunities of observing with plea- 
sure that the welfare and prosperity of his majesty's 
subjects committed to your care, was your chief and 
principal study. Surely no governor ever attended 
the public service with more assiduity, or more 
steadily pursued the good of those he governed. 
This, sir, assures us that though you have left us, 
you will not forget us, but will on every suitable 
occasion :assist our agent, Mr. Robert Charles, on 
what may relate to this colony, and represent us in 
a favourable light to our most gracious sovereign, to 
whose person, family and government, this colony 
has a most sincere and inviolable attachment. I do, 
in the name of the general assembly, most heartily 
congratulate you on your preferment in his majesty's 
navy, and assure you, that you have their most ardent 
wishes, and I am persuaded of the whole province, 
that success, honour, and happiness, may attend you 

write to you again on the aftair of the Jersey line also. An order is made out 
for your last year's allowance, and the same continued for another year ; but 
how after that I cannot say. The house have not proceeded to the examination 
of accounts ; when ther do, vou will fall under consideration. 


in that and every other station to which Divine Pro- 
vidence shall call you. " 

While we were in suspense respecting the plan 
expected for the operations of the ensuing year, the 
military officers indulged great heats concerning the 
inactivity of the last campaign. Lord Charles Hay 
led a party at Halifax in severe reflections on the 
earl of Loudon. Their animosities spread to New- 
York, and among the discontented, no man indulged 
in greater liberties than Mr. Lee, then a subaltern, 
who did not restrain himself in the open coffee-house 
from calling it the cabbage planting expedition ; 
drawing into question not only the earl's military 
skill, but his courage and integrity : and others were 
divided respecting the northern events. There were 
advocates for Mr. Webb, who insisted that fort Wil- 
liam Henry was unnecessarily surrendered, while 
those who adhered to colonel Young, impeached 
that general, not only for neglect to relieve the 
beseiged, but for the loss of the German Flats, by 
demolishing the fort at the great carrying-place in 
1756. For Mr. Webb, it was affirmed that he was 
not 3000 strong at fort Edward, till the day before 
the capitulation ; that he then wrote to Monroe, 
that he was on the point of marching to his aid, but 
was over-persuaded by Young to give up the fort. 
As to the demolition of the western fort ; in order to 
acquit Webb, it was averred to be in consequence 
of the earl's positive orders. 

Whatever the real design, it certainly was owing 
to the height of these animosities that a winter attack 
upon Ticonderoga was talked of, and lord Howe 
mentioned as the person who was to lead that enter- 


prise. His lordship then commanded a regiment 
quartered on Long Island. The carpenters at 
Albany were employed in framing small sleds to be 
drawn by hand; snow shoes were provided; worsted 
caps bought up; a new corps of five hundred rangers 
formed under colonel Gage, and Rogers ordered to 
raise one thousand men, of which he was to be major 
commandant. But after a few weeks nothing more 
was heard of this undertaking, and the obloquy was 
transferred from Webb and Young, to the earl of 
Loudon, already expressed by the joint calumnies of 
his own army and the provinces. Mr. Webb win- 
tered with him in tov/n ; but general Abercrombie 
took no part in these quarrels, and quietly passed his 
time at Albany, where he received the public inti- 
mation of the extensive project of making a conquest 
of all Canada, and his own advancement to the 
command of a great army, to be composed of the 
British troops, augmented by the whole force of 
the colonies, 

Mr. Delancey collected the assembly, and made a 
speech to them on the 10th March, 1758, in which 
he incorporated the animating terms of Mr. Pitt's 
circular letter, for setting all the wheels in motion to 
raise 20,000 provincials. The king was to furnish 
all the arms, ammunition, tents, and provisions : the 
levying, clothing, and pay, we were to defray, with 
a promise of being relieved according to our active 
vigour and strenuous efforts, by a parliamentary re- 

" I hope," says the lieutenant-governor, " a num- 
ber of ballot men will have at heart the honour of a 
brave and the best of kings ; and will voluntarily and 


cheerfully engage in a service, on the success of 
which their properties, their civil and religious 
liberties depend. 

Nothing could be more grateful to the majority of 
the people than the design proposed. The assembly 
promised their aid without a moment's hesitation, 
and resolved to raise, clothe, and pay two thousand 
six hundred and eighty men, with ten pounds bounty 
for every volunteer, and twenty shillings to the officer 
for every recruit. And the lieutenant-governor and 
council, to favour the levies, laid an immediate em- 
bargo. The house voted to maintain every poor 
soldier's family in his absence; and to defray the 
expense, bills were emitted for £100,000, to be can- 
celled by a tax for nine years. The necessary law 
was passed, and the assembly dismissed before the 
end of the month, without the least jar among the 
legislators upon this subject, though the council had 
refused their assent to the favourable project for ex- 
tending the power of the government, by enlarging 
the influence and authority of the trustees of the 

Mr. Nicoll brought in the five-pound bill on the 
1st December preceding, and four days afterwards 
it was sent to the council. On the 23d they were 
stimulated as to the progress respecting what " the 
good people of the colony had so much at heart," 
and were answered, that while the bill was in com- 
mittee a petition was presented to be heard against 
it, which that house intended to grant after the 
holidays. Another more important message by Mr. 
Watts and colonel Delancey, respecting it, was 
delivered on the 31st January; adding that this 



house, in justice to their constituents, cannot avoid 
being solicitous about a bill which experience has 
shown to be attended with such happy effects in 
the several counties where it took place, and which 
the disinterested part of the good people of this 
colony are impatiently expecting to see continued, 
and therefore, that their just expectations may not 
be disappointed, and that the city of New- York 
and such other parts of the colony as have hitherto 
been excluded, and where its use is apparently 
necessary, may no longer be deprived of the bene- 
fits almost universally acknowledged to arise there- 
from — the house hopes the council will not continue 
to defer their concurrence thereto. 

The upper house took no umbrage at the unpar- 
liamentary mode of arguing and corresponding with 
each other, but simply replied, that the day formally 
appointed for the hearing, would not arrive till 
the. 8th instant. Before that they were irregularly 
adjourned from the 4th of February to the 7th of 
March, on a letter from the lieutenant-governor to 
the speaker. I observed that he chose to make a 
speech to them after the receipt of Mr. Pitt's letter, 
though there had been no end of the session. The 
council unmoved, sent down the bill with amend- 
ments, and the same morning (21st March) were 
informed that the house would not concur in them, 
and thus the fate of the bill was suspended — the 
council adhering to their alterations, and the lower 
house being, as was then supposed, satisfied with 
the amazing influence which the new commissioners 
for raising the army would create prior to the elec- 
tion near at hand, in consequence of the septennial 


act passed in the time of Mr. Clinton, who was 
censured for a practice in which he was now en- 
slaved, that of filling up vacancies in the counties 
according to the nomination of the members, some 
of whom were trusted with blanks to be filled up at 
their pleasure. But on the nearer approach of the 
dissolution, the assembly rescinded their vote and 
concurred with the amendments, and the bill was 

Mr. Amherst was to accomplish the conquest of ") 
Cape Briton, the island of St. Johns, and their 
dependencies. Mr. Forbes commanded in the en- 
terprise against the French forts on the Ohio ; but 
the main army for penetrating Canada through the 
northern lakes was to be conducted by Mr. Aber- 
crombie. ^ 

Fort Edward was the place of rendezvous. The ^ 
New-York troops were all levied and collected there 
a fortnight before ; the stores arrived from England 
about the middle of June, under convoy of the 
vanguard ; not long after which the forces of the 
colonies came in. By the activity of lord Howe 
and lieutenant-colonel Bradstreet, the boats were 
forwarded with speed, and lord Howe led the first 
division of 4d00 men, before the end of Juno, to 
lake George- General Abercrombie followed with 
the main body, and on the 6th July the whole army 
landed at the north end of those waters. 

They defeated (to use the words of Mr. Jones' 
letter to the agent of the 2d November) a party who 
went against them, and got possession of all the 
ground between the place of landing and the - 

French fort at Ticonderoga ; but meeting with a 

VOL. TT. — 41 

322 HISTORY OF new-york. 

small repulse there, they immediately (at least as 
appeared to us) gave up all the advantages they 
had gained, and hastily returned back over the lake 
again, and nothing has been attempted since in that 
quarter. Where the fault lay we cannot take upon 
us to say, but it appears to us to be more in the 
head than the hody. 

Lord Howe, on the march to the lake, fell a 
sacrifice to his valour in a conflict with the French 
advanced guard. Brigadier Prevost, in a letter of 
the 3d August, informed the author, that the army 
marched in the best order, but from ignorance in the 
officers, or the indocility of the troops, they took 
fright on the report of a few muskets, and instantly 
dispersed. That this happened twice in two hours. 

The works at Ticonderoga were trifling; they had 
piled logs on the land side in a line for a breastwork, 
and trees before it to embarrass the assailants. Mr. 
Abercrombie, who was two miles in the rear, and 
not informed that there was at one end an open access 
to the French encampment, ordered an attack with 
musketry alone, upon that part of the line which 
was finished and fortified with cannon, and there we 
sustained the loss in killed and wounded : nearly 
two thousand brave men, who were advancing with 
the utmost difficulty, greatly obstructed by an abattis 
of trees. 

The French general, who was just within the lines, 
perceived our folly, stripped ofl* his clothes, and with 
a drawn sword, forbid a musket to be fired upon the 
pain of the severest punishment, until he gave the 
word. When embarrassed and unable to fly back, 
he issued the word of command, and our front was 


mowed down like grass. Hearing of the slaughter, 
Mr. Abercrombie ordered a retreat ; he hurried them 
on the night of the 7th to the lake, where they em- 
barked with the utmost precipitation, nor even then 
abated their speed till they had passed its whole 

Colonel Peter Schuyler, who was then a prisoner 
in Canada, informed the author that Mr. Montcalm's 
whole force there and at Crown Point did not exceed 
three thousand men ; nor their killed and taken both 
within the lines and at the advanced guard, two 
hundred and thirty ; and that from a dread of our 
vast superiority, they had actually before our retreat 
prepared to abandon Crown Point. 

Lieutenant colonel Bradstreet, impatient of this 
disgrace, and hoping nothing from a general, who, 
while he calumniated his army as broken-spirited, 
discovered that he wanted firmness himself, urged 
an attempt upon Frontenac. He was sent to Oswego 
in 1755, was there again in 1756, and had entered 
into Shirley's views of the importance of command- 
ing the w^aters of Ontario, and offered his services to 
conduct the enterprise. Abercrombie gave him a 
detachment of three thousand men : he rather flew 
than marched with them through that long rout from 
lake George to Albany, and thence again up the 
stream of the Mohawk river, then across the portage, 
down the Wood creek to the lake of the Oneidas, 
and the rapids of the Onondaga, to Oswego. Thence 
he pushed his open boats into the sea of Ontario, 
traversing the south-eastern coast from point to 
point, till he crossed the St, Lawrence and surprised 
ihn garrison of Frontenac. He invested it. took it. 

324 illaiORY OF i\E\V-VORK. 

burnt an immense magazine for the supply of tlie 
interior dependencies, and in twenty -four days after 
having destroyed the vessels on the Lake, returned 
to assist in securing the important pass in the coun- 
try of the Oneidas, which Mr. Webb had the year 
before abandoned to the intimidation of all the six 
Indian tribes. But either by the fatigue of these 
vigorous exertions, or the bad quality of the waters 
of the Wood creek, we lost five hundred men of this 
detachment, a great part of whom were levies of this 
colony. The author's letter to governor Morris, 
enclosing one from Mr, Dubois, who was a captain 
under Bradstreet, brought the first intelligence of 
this event to England. He desired an audience to 
communicate it to Mr. Secretary Pitt, who received 
him, and unassisted, entered into so copious a dis- 
play of its consequences, that his informer lost, what 
was one of the ends of the interview, not having a 
thought to add to the sagacious remarks of that bold, 
active, and discerning statesman, who appeared to 
be accurately informed of the inland geography of 
America, then understood even in this country only 
by an inquisitive few. 

It was imagined that Mr. Abercombie would re- 
new the attack, but the author learnt from general 
Prevost that Sv^nie additional works at lake George 
engrossed all his attention, and that the campaign 
would end as shamefully as it had begun. Having 
communicated the public censures on his conduct in 
that quarter, so early as the 21st of July, his answer 
did not admit that the general was culpable in 
recrossing the lake, and seemed to hint that there 
could be but little dependence on the provincials. 

lilSTOUY OF i\EW-VUKK. 525 

The author, on the 13th of September, expressed 
himself thus : — 

" Though some of the colony troops seemed to 
discover a temper not very encouraging at the first 
landing, is it not true that they behaved with spirit 
in the attack ? or, which is sufficient to my purpose, 
did not the general think so, when orders were 
given to thank them publicly for their gallantry? 
was not their universal surprise at the retreat some* 
proof that their minds were then firm, and not 
broken by a panic ? and does not the rapidity with 
which they were brought off, demonstrate that no 
time was spent to examine the temper of the army? 
what are your reflections on the general's orders 
of the cannon and baggage to New-York. Provin- 
cials reduced Louisburgh the last war. Acadie was 
reduced mostly by provincials. Dieskau was taken 
by the colony troops. The rangers are colonists. 
Provincials cut off Killanning ; and by provincials 
we lately destroyed Frontenac. You will agree 
with me that irregulars will be of use for a surprise 
in a weakly fortified, wooded country. When pro- 
vincials succeed in one kind of service, most men 
think them fit for all. This indeed is arguing ill, 
and nothing will show it to be bad logic so soon as 
better conduct on the part of the regulars. What 
think you of rebuilding Oswego ? If the war con- 
tinues another campaign, I can't help thinking that 
in a general invasion of Canada, five or six thousand 
troops sent down the Cataraqui stream would greatly 
favour the descent of a larger army through Cham- 
plain, and a fleet on the river." 

326 HiciTOiiY or jnevv-yuuk. 

The reply of the 28th has these passages : — 

"I have no answer to make in regard to the 
general's orders to Cummings on the night of the 
attack, for I am at a loss to defend a had cause, as 
I should be to give up a good one* Provincials have 
performed all you relate, and had they been pro- 
perly led, it is my just opinion they might have done 
more, but for all that, they were not in the least fit 
^for the service we are upon. I do not know veriJy, 
whether we shall attempt this year to retrieve 
our losses, but we are in readiness with regard to 
all the necessary implements and provisions ; and 
if any thing is still wanting, I am pretty certain it 
will be at the lake before the reinforcement of the 
reofulars can come from Boston." 

When the five regiments from Louisburgh landed 
there, and marched slowly to find winter quarters 
at Albany, they had not the least intimation that 
Mr. Abercrombie suspended his re-attempts for 
their junction, and then heard it for the first time 
with surprise. The controversy then arose respect- 
ing the fault, which was at last charged upon Mr- 
Pownal, the governor of Boston, to whom Mr. 
Abercrombie had entrusted despatches to Mr. 
Amherst for reinforcements, immediately after the 
retreat from Carillon. But the season was elapsed. 
The French had gathered in their harvest. The 
British fleet had left the St. Lawrence, and the 
whole force of Canada was collected on lake Cham- 
plain, and by the middle of October, the victors 
from Louisburgh were in winter cantonments. 

The operations terminated in the north-west, in 
the construction of a respectable fort in the country 


of the Oneidas, and it was called Stanwix, in com- 
pliment to the general who commanded in that 

The account of the loss of Louisburgh on one 
side, and of fort Frontenac on the other, arrived at 
Montreal on the same day. The militia of that 
island and neighbourhood were instantly command- 
ed up the St. Lawrence, to repair the demolished 
fort. Colonel Peter Schuyler was witness to the 
consternation of the French colony. The whole 
force sent to Frontenac did not exceed fifteen hun- 
dred men, and upon a false alarm of Bradstreet's 
second approach, the greatest part of them aban- 
doned the works, and descended the river with the 
utmost precipitation — the dispirited populace consi- 
dering their country as lost. 

But our success on Ontario had still more exten- 
sive effects, and verified in fact what Shirley lon^f 
had beheld in speculation: the Indians now changed 
their temper. A peace was established at Easton 
in October, not only with the Six Nations, but all the 
barbarians on the waters of the Delaware and the 
Busquehannah. The reduction of Frontenac contri- 
buted also to the progress of general Forbes on 
the Ohio. The enemy abandoned fort Du Quesne 
on his approach, and a treaty was concluded with 
the numerous savages in that remote country, who 
had, after Braddock's defeat, spread desolation 
along the interior frontiers of all the southern colo- 
nies. Frederick Root, after the treaty of Easton, 
ventured amongst them at the hazard of his life, 
and convened eight hundred of their warriors at a 
council fire on the western bank of the Ohio, near 


fort Du Qiiesne. The Alleghanies, consisting of 
four hundred fighting men, who formerly inhabited 
Pennsylvania, New-Jersey, and the western parts of 
this province, agreed to meet at Philadelphia at 
such time as Mr. Denny, the governor of Pennsyl- 
vania, should appoint. The rest, who were Shaw- 
nees, and lived farther down the stream of the Ohio, 
were inclined to wait the result of the negotiations 
with the other tribes, but engaged to disperse at 
present, leaving Mr. Forbes to advance without 
opposition, and conducted pait to that army to 
communicate that agreeable intelliocence. 

After divers adjournments, Mr. Delancey and his 
assembly met again in November, and he delivered 
a speech, congratulating them on the reduction of 
Louisburgh, the erection of fort Stanwix, and the 
success at Frontenac. Of the repulse at Ticonde- 
roga he expressed himself with caution : " Though 
(says he) our sanguine hopes have been disappoint- 
ed, yet the enemy have gained no ground there, and 
things are as they were on Hudson's river at the 
beginning of the campaign." He then reminds them 
of three trips to Albany — recommends these to 
their consideration, and leaves them to the common 
business of the year. 

At the instance of Mr. Cruger, the thanks of this 
house were given to Mr. Oliver Delancey, who had 
served with general Abercrombie as colonel-in chief 
of the New- York forces — "For his great service 
and singular care of the troops under his com- 
mand."* They gave his brother, the lieutenant- 

* He, with Mr. Jolin Cruger and Mr. Beverly Robinson, were the pay-mae- 
ters and commissaries for laying out the £100.000 devoted for the campaiffn. 


governor, eighteen hundred pounds for a salary, 
four hundred pounds for fuel, candles, and lights, 
and for his three visits to Albany three hundred 
pounds more. 

According to a law, no assembly could continue 
longer than seven years from the test of the sum- 
mons by which it was first convened ; and the writs 
for the present house issuing in January, 1752, this 
was of course the last session, the term expiring in 
a few weeks. 

The party who had so long held the reins, could 
not think of separating without a five-pound act for 
the greater influence of the trading factors in the 
ensuing elections. 

One of the main sticklers in the council for 
amending the bill was Mr. Chambers — the profits 
of whose office, as town-clerk of the capital, would 
be greatly abridged by the commission of all causes 
between forty shillings and five pounds before cog- 
nizance in the mayor's court, to a single justice of 
the peace. 

This was his motive for amending the bill, and 
he was supported by the majority, who thought it 
reasonable to give a compensation to all patent 
offices whose profits were to be lessened by that 
bill. The assembly had refused the amendments, 
and the council had given notice that they adhered 
to them, so that the bill had been considered as 
lost, until the house, unwilling to be dissolved 
without it, resumed the consideration of the amend- 
ments, on the 9ih December, (for no prorogation 
had intervened) and assenting to them,' the council, 

VOL. n. — 42 


(into which Mr. Watts and Mr. Watson had been 
introduced by the interest of sir Charles Hardy,) 
without any objection handed the bill over to the 
lieutenant-governor, and it passed into a law. 

Before their parting, care was taken to intimidate 
and weaken the influence of Mr. Depeyster, the 
treasurer, and his powerful connexions in the inte- 
rest of his brother-in-law Chambers, by stating an 
account between him and the colony, according to 
which he appeared to be a debtor to the public in 
1757, for above thirty thousand pounds; and to 
reward Mr. Speaker Jones, who had so long served 
the interest of the lieutenant-governor, and fallen 
under the suspicion of his constituents in Queen's 
county as a friend to the chartered college, he was 
constituted one of the judges of the supreme court, 
and on the face of a new instruction gave him his 
commission, granting the office during good beha- 
viour. But it must be added, that there was at that 
time an important cause to be tried on a claim to 
near sixty acres of land in the suburbs of the me- 
tropolis, held by the corporation of Trinity church, 
of which Mr. Chambers and Mr. Horsmanden were 
members, and therefore exceptionable judges, and 
when the trial came on Mr. Jones sat alone. 

But it was easy to apologise for this appointment, 
especially as the two houses at this time furnished 
him with a very seasonable exhibition of the zeal 
of the colony in the services of the war, with a view 
that this representation should be communicated 
with his own additions to the king's ministers for a 
share of the promised reimbursements, and that 
delivered, Mr. Delancey dissolved the assembly on 


the 16th of December, " not (as he told them) for 
any distrust of their proceedings ; on the contrary, 
I take this public occasion of thanking them, and 
declaring that I think they have done a great deal 
for the service of their king and country, and that 
they merit the approbation and thanks of their 
constituents. But as his majesty's commands for 
the operations of the ensuing year against the 
enemy are not come over, and probably will not 
arrive here till near the time when this assembly 
must expire by the limitation of the septennial act ; 
in which event, if this assembly should not during 
their continuance go through the business then to 
be recommended to them, the public service would 
be delayed and perhaps disapproved."* 

The elections demonstrated that all the arts used 
to influence the multitude were insufficient to extin- 
guish the flames of jealousy excited by the partial 
pre-eminence given to one denomination in the 
modelling of the college. Fifteen new members 
were introduced, and among them several whose 
abilities increased the difficulty of managing their 
humours, and who by their opulence were indiffe- 
rent to the smiles or frowns of a party they meant 
to check and subvert. 

Philip Livingston, a popular alderman, came in 
as a member for the metropolis ; William Living- 
ston, who had signalized himself in opposing the 
exclusive charter, was chosen to represent his bro- 
ther's manor; Robert R. Livingston and Henry 

* It was known that general Amherst was to command the next year. He 
sent some of the Louisburgh troops across the country from Boston to Albany, 
and arrived at Npw-York on the 12th Deceuiber, 1758. 


Livingston were sent by the county of Dutchess ; 
Mr. Hicks of Queen's county had been a partisan 
of governor Clinton, and with his colleague were 
preferred to Mr. Justice Jones and Cornel — the 
people of that county censuring the former as a 
tool to the lieutenant-governor, and the latter as 
influenced by his old colleague. Messrs. Hasbrouck 
and Bruyn, Herring and Wisner, were sent up by 
Ulster and Orange counties, disgusted by the late 
ruling party. 

But Mr. Delancey was not left without hopes. 
His brother Oliver, and his friends John Cruger, 
the mayor, and Mr. Lispenard got in for the city, 
nor did his brother and his cousins Verplanck and 
Rensselaer lose their seats. Besides, he could rely 
upon Mr. Nicoll, his cousin-german Mr. Watts, and 
upon Messrs. Winne, Philipse and Thomas, who 
were his companions and members of the late 

Add to this, that the Delanceys had gained in the 
council what they lost in the assembly. He seemed 
to be fixed in the chair, and therefore awed the 
whole board. In proportion to their jealousy of the 
Livinofstons, who were considered as the leaders of 
the non-episcopal denominations, they were willing 
to draw with the Delanceys, though the latter were 
not fond of being publicly considered as the head 
of a sect, though powerful in its influence, yet small 
in point of numbers ; not to mention that the new 
members. Watts and Watson, were not only sure 
votes in that board for the party, but a check upon 
the freedom of their debates. From this time we 
shall distinguish the opposition under the name of 


the Livingston party, though it did not always pro- 
ceed from motives approved of by that family. 

The v^^rits of summons were returnable on the 
26th January, 1759, but the inclemency of the season 
preventing their convention, Mr. Delancey pro- 
rogued them by a proclamation under his private 
seal, to the 31st. For this irregularity he had the 
advice of his council, nor was it excepted to by the 
assembly. The new plan for the year being not yet 
come to the hands of general Amherst, who had 
been waiting here in daily expectation of it, the 
lieutenant-governor, after Mr. Nicoll was chosen 
speaker, addressed them with congratulations on 
general Forbes's success against fort Du Quesne, 
recommended a more compulsory law for impress- 
ing horses and carriages, the prevention of frivolous 
arrests, the payment of public debts, and their con- 
certing a plan for more populous settlements of the 
waste lands of the crown. These measures were 
as much for his own interest as for that of the pub- 
lic ; the last mentioned especially, by which his 
emoluments in the land office might by new grants 
be greatly increased. 

They gave him a general answer with warm pro- 
fessions of zeal for the service of the crown and 
their country, and entered into the common routine 
of business, till Mr. Secretary Pitt's despatches 
arrived the latter end of February, requiring an 
addition to the British troops of at least twenty- 
thousand men from the colonies of the east, and of 
Pennsylvania, upon the terms of the last campaign. 

It was immediately resolved to raise two thousand 
six hundred and eighty men, as the proportion of 


this colony, by giving each individual £15 bounty, 
and twenty shillings more to the recruiting officer ; 
and to defray the expense by an emission of £100,000 
in paper, to be sunk in nine years by a tax, begin- 
ning with £12,000 for the present. 

To quicken the levies, the lieutenant-governor 
urged the house for power to make detachments, 
that every man might be interested in procuring 
volunteers ; and by the 7th of March, the main bill 
for the levies and one for impresses being ready, 
they were passed with two or three others of less 
moment, and the members retired to their counties 
to forward the enlistments, when great umbrage 
was taken by the quakers, to whose conscientious 
scruples the legislature had shown very little regard. 

But the assembly were soon re-convened for a 
fresh proof of their zeal. The agents for the motley 
contractors were out of cash, and the end of the 
campaign in danger of being frustrated, unless a 
loan could be made to tlie crown of £150,000 cur- 
rency. It was no sooner asked by Mr. Amherst, 
than a law passed (2d July) upon his promise of 
repayment in the course of a year, by bills to be 
drawn by the deputy pay-master of the army, and 
the cash lent consisted of bills of credit now 

General Prideaux took the command of the west- 
ern army destined to Niagara. They advanced the 
1st of July, 2200 strong, exclusive of several hundred 
Indians led by sir William Johnston. They landed, 
invested the French fort and opened their trenches. 
The general fell by the unfortunate explosion of a 
cohorn on the 20th. The American baronet took 


his place, and sent for Mr. Haldimand, who with 
twelve hundred men had just before repelled sixteen 
hundred of the enemy in the defence of that post, 
with a considerable loss to them and none to us. 
Before Mr. Haldimand arrived, a strong party of 
thirteen hundred came from Venango to the relief 
of the besieged, with five hundred savages. Lieu- 
tenant-colonel Massey advanced with a detachment 
of five hundred men to meet them. Observing that 
our Indians sought an opportunity to speak with 
them, and fearing the effect of it, the French set up 
and begun the charge. In less than an hour they 
gave way with the loss of one hundred and fifty 
prisoners, the first and second in command, Morang, 
the Indian leader, and seventeen officers, seven of 
whom were captains. Except the Mohawks, all our 
own Indians stood aloof till after the route. This 
victory of 23d July gave us the fort. Through the 
unskilfulness of our engineers, the works were un- 
hurt ; and having ammunition for only forty-eight 
hours more, sir William was on the point of raising 
the siege. The garrison capitulated at the instance 
of the commandants. There were made prisoners 
of war to the number of six hundred and seven: their 
women and children were to be sent to Montreal. 

General Amherst led the main body. They passed 
lake George without opposition, and proceeded to 
the lines so fatal to us the year before. While our 
trenches were opening, the enemy kept in their fort, 
but in the night of the 26ih July, blew it up and 
repaired to Crown Point, leaving twenty men behind 
who could not find room in their boats. We lost 
colonel Roger Townsend the night before, by a can- 


non shot in the shoulder, while he was imprudently 
gratifying his curiosity at the trenches. 

Five days after, M. Bourlemaque abandoned fort 
St. Frederick, and demolished the works on the 
approach of Rogers' rangers, and retiring with all 
the stores to the Isle aux Noix at the north end of 
lake Champlain, where his whole force collected 
amounted to two thousand men, who were in a 
starving condition. 

Colonel Gage was ordered on the news of the 
surrender of Niagara, to proceed from Oswego with 
the western forces down the St. Lawrence to La 
Galette, while general Wolf was besieging Quebec, 
that the French force drawn to the two extremes 
of Canada, might favour general Amherst's descent 
upon the centre of the colony, with an army of twelve 
thousand men through lake Champlain. 

On the flight from Crown Point, few doubted the 
reduction of Montreal, where they imagined the in- 
habitants shut out from the rest of the world, and so 
harassed as to be unable to collect in their harvest, 
upon the point of perishing by a famine, and by 
despair ready to resign themselves the moment of 
general Amherst's landing at St. John's : they relied 
on the intelligence that the savages in the French 
alliance were intimidated, and conceived that the 
immense plunder of Niagara would be sufficient to 
draw all our Indians to a firm junction with the troops 
who were to act under Mr. Gage. But of these de- 
signs not one was executed save that trusted to 
general Wolfe, and this not till the 13th September. 
General Amherst who had advanced within thirty 
miles of St. .Tohn's, and burnt all the French vessels 


but one, on the news of the Quebec victory returned 
to Crown Point. 

The multitude however were contented with a 
change of fortune so very different from what they 
had hitherto experienced, and contented with their 
successes, a veil was willingly drawn over that inac- 
tivity which had disappointed our hopes of the total 
subjugation of the power of France on this continent. 

The fort of Niagara, though of earth, was res- 
pectable, and capable of containing two thousand 
men. On the sides it w^as difficult of access. It had 
a river on the west, the lake on the north, and on 
the east a morass. The ditch was large, and a 
great part of it wet. The soil near it, like the 
Seneca country, fertile, rich, and level. About two 
thousand Indians visited it the ensuing autumn, 
abject and servile, because aware of their depen- 
dence on us in future for many articles necessary 
for their subsistence : but not a single man of the 
Mississages, who inhabited the old country of the 
Hurons, on the north bank of lake Erie, came there 
till the close of the campaign, for the French still 
maintained their post at Toronto, at the north-west 
corner of lake Ontario, and therefore six hundred 
men were left the ensuinsf vear as a garrison at 

At Oswego we built a new pentagon fort, and 
opened a ditch of five and thirty feet. The maga- 
zine was made capable of containing a thousand 
barrels. Casemates and bomb proofs were con- 
structed, and nine companies left there for its de- 
fence, with several small vessels and a brigantine 

yOT,. TT. — \^ 


of seventy odd feet keel, mounting twenty guns. 
One hundred men more were posted in a small fort 
at the Little Falls of the Onondaga, and as many 
more at the western extremity of the Oneida lake ; 
fifteen at the eastern end, and four hundred at fort 
Stanwix. A road was cut from that fortress eighteen 
miles across the portage to the mouth of the Wood 
creek, to shorten the passage by that stream, which 
is more than double that distance. It was then 
asserted that the plain of the waters of the Wood 
creek and the Mohawk river, at each end of that 
carrying place, differed but two feet, which, if true, 
may one day give a supply of salmon and many 
other kinds of fish to the inhabitants upon the bor- 
ders of the latter of these streams. 

On the north general Amherst began a fort at 
William Henry, completed another at Ticonderoga, 
formed and began to execute the design of such a 
fortress at Crown Point as would comprehend a 
circuit of nine hundred yards. The winter garrisons 
of these three posts amounted to fifteen hundred 

The defeat of the party from Venango facilitated 
the constructions ordered by Mr. Stanwix at Pitts- 
burgh, where he exhausted the summer in Indian 
treaties, and promoting our commerce with the 
aborigines of the south. 

The provision for the New- York troops extending 
only to the first of November, and general Amherst 
wanting their assistance for securing the ground 
they had gained, and to prevent the French from 
repairing their losses, it was necessary to re-convene 
the assembly in October ; and on account of the 


small-pox, Mr. Delancey ventured to summon them 
again at his own out-house in the suburbs. 

General Amherst's patron was Mr. Pitt; and the 
lieutenant-governor, who had hitherto studied to 
conciliate the graces of that general, did not lose 
the opportunity to applaud his campaign. 

After declaring his acquisitions to be important 
and valuable, and approving the wisdom of his 
measures, he adds for justifying them : 

" You must be sensible that the enemy have had 
very small supplies of provisions this year from 
France, and that most of the men in Canada having 
been in arms this summer, their crops must have 
suffered greatly. In this pressing situation it cannot 
be doubted they will use their utmost efforts to 
repossess themselves of their strong holds, if it were 
only with a design of getting subsistence from our 
magazines ; but if they know that there are respec- 
table forts to oppose them, and find that the works 
are completed, they must lay aside all such attempts 
as fruitless and vain." 

The house wanted no incitements to continue 
their aid, and the same day voted the necessary pay 
and additional clothing suited to the season, and 
the day after (18th October) were adjourned to the 
4th of December. 

They met then to congratulate each other upon 
the victory at Minden, the defeat of tlie French 
fleet on the coast of Algarva, the conquest of Guada- 
loupe, the reduction of Quebec, and the other suc- 
cesses of that memorable year, and then proceeded 
to the ordinary supplies. Mr. Delancey did not 
omit a requisition for a salary to Mr. .Justice Jones ; 


*' an officer fsays he) whom the course of justice 
obliged me to appoint ;" and for obviating objections, 
pointed to funds by an increase of the stamp duties 
and an augmentation of the excise upon strong 

The session ended in twenty days without a single 
division on any question, though upwards of twenty 
acts were passed, and among them a five-pound act 
so much before contested ; but it was limited to four 

To the governor they allowed a salary of £1800 
with the £400 perquisite ; gave Mr. Chambers £200, 
without any reference to the chief seat as full or 
vacant. Deducted £50 from Mr. Horsmanden's late 
allowance, and gave Mr. Jones £100 a year from the 
date of his commission, the 6th of December, 1738. 
Of the five-pound act the committee wrote favoura- 
bly to the agent. The speaker of the present house 
lived remote from the capital, declined any part of 
the correspondence, and it was left to the members 
of the metropolis, who expressed themselves thus in 
their letter of the 26th April: 

" In the last session an act was passed to empower 
mayors, recorders, &c. to try causes to the value of 
£5 and under, which has been strenuously opposed 
by the gentlemen of the law, both out of doors and 
in the council, but at last consented to for four years. 
As we are apprehensive that the same opposition will 
travel to the board of trade, we desire you will sup- 
port the act, as it has by experience been found very 
beneficial, and in a few instances only occasioned 
any discontent ; is greatly satisfactory to all ranks 
of people, except some of the law, and prevents num- 


berless suits and expenses, which in many instances 
amounts in the old practice to more than the sum 
sued for, and therefore this law is esteemed a very 
singular public benefit." 

It was not to be doubted that if the war continued, 
new efforts would be directed for completing the 
reduction of all Canada. Mr. Secretary Pitt's letter 
for that purpose arriving in good season, the house 
was again convoked for our aid on the 11th March. 
The assembly voted the like contribution with that 
of the last year, and there was a new emission of 
sixty thousand pounds to defray it, and an eight years 
tax imposed for sinking the bills. 

The governor had in his speech incorporated 
Mr. Pitt's letter, commanding him to use his utmost 
endeavours and influence towards raising the men 
necessary for the enterprise, which prompted to a 
motion of Mr. R. R. Livingston for an address inti- 
mating that a great part of the loan to general 
Amherst was still unpaid, and that their exertions 
were made, uninfluenced by any other motives than 
a sense of their duty to their king and country. 
But there was a majority for the negative, which is 
mentioned as a demonstration of his ascendency, 
even in the present assembly. They adjourned the 
22d of that month. 

Before they met again in May, he informed them 
that the whole loan was repaid, and at the request 
of governor Pownal, implored their charity to the 
people of Boston, who had suffered by a conflagra- 
tion which had consumed a great part of that town 
on the 20th March. Though the province was then 
indebted to a long list of creditors for services and 


losses in the war, and of many of these demands 
only able to advance but a moiety, still they gave out 
of their treasury £2500 to the poor of Boston. 

Mr. Delancey passed ten bills on the 10th of June, 
and then adjourned them. The most remarkable 
of these, was one to regulate the practice of physic 
and surgery — professions taken up by every preten- 
der to the great injury of a credulous people. But 
the remedy was very inadequate to the evil, for the 
law which restrained all unlicensed practices under 
the penalty of five pounds for every offence, was 
limited to the capital, and gave the right of examin- 
ing the candidates to incompetent judges, a coun- 
sellor, a judge of the supreme court, the mayor and 
the attorney-general, assisted by such persons as 
they should think proper to call upon. 

The lieutenant-governor survived this session 
only to the 30th July, and died very suddenly. He 
spent the day before on Staten Island, at an interview 
with Mr. Boone and Mr. Barnard ; the latter leaving 
New-Jersey for the government of Boston, and the 
former taking his place and command of New-Jer- 
sey. General James Prevost, governor Morris, Mr. 
Walton and others, were of the party, and Mr. 
Delancey, as it was thought, suffered by the tart 
raillery of the company and a too free use of the 
cup; for his constitution, though not much shattered, 
began to give way to the liberties he had long in- 
dulged. Crossing the water for several miles in the 
evening air, he landed in low spirits, drank some 
wine and water at Mr. Watts's, and rode out to his 
house about a mile from town. He was found in 
the morning by one of his infant children gasping in 

HISTORY 'of new- YORK. 34 


his chair, and in the agonies of death ; and before a 
physician could be called to his assistance, the vital 
spirit was gone. The immediate cause was sup- 
posed to be a fit of the asthma, to which he had been 
many years so subject as to be unable to take his 
ordinary repose in bed. 

The conversation of the day before certainly put 
the deceased to his utmost exertions ; for he was 
treated with the familiarity of an equal in the pre- 
sence of his inferiors, who had long worshipped him 
as a genius and character of the first magnitude. 
Mr. Boone, with Mr. Morris and brigadier Prevost, 
played off their wit in rallying some of his arts for 
gaining popularity ; and though not a word was ut- 
tered in a manner interdicted by good breeding, yet 
there was gall under the disguise of politeness and 
respect, which made his defence the more arduous, 
especially as there were three against one, with the 
smiles of the rest. His daily coffee-house haunts, 
his controversy with Clinton, his persuading sir 
Charles Hardy to resign on contract for half of the 
salary and emoluments, the subserviency of his tools, 
his double claim to be chancellor and chief justice, 
his exaction of the high fees for land grants taken 
by Clinton, and his receipt of £400 yearly for the 
garrison, after the independent companies were 
removed, and a tale respecting that money, all touch- 
ed with delicacy and justified with anxiety, without 
the appearance of contention, formed the topics of a 
conversation concluded with evening merriment on 
both sides ; but when they parted, Mr. Delancey 
instantly grew serious, and was vexed and silent on 
the whole passage over the bay. 


The tale alluded to was this : Prevost commanded 
one of the royal American battalions, which had 
wintered here before. The author remarked to him 
in the summer of 1758, when being hors de combat, 
he spent his time unemployed at a villa near the 
capital, that this annual gift was a party douceur. 
He instantly protested he would exact it for his 
corps, and the next day startled the lieutenant- 
governor by a demand, which the other endeavored 
to turn off with a jest. The general left him to con- 
sider of it, and receiving no satisfactory answer, 
notified him in form, that he should make it the 
subject of a letter to the secretary of war ; and at a 
public dinner told him that he would certainly make 
that application, because it was the part of a good 
officer to insist on the rights of his soldiers, and 
leave it to the governor to support his own honour in 
the denial if he could. Mr. Delancey was already 
intimidated, and a few days after, declaring his con- 
viction of the justice of the claim, paid down a moiety 
of the money, for which the general took the merit 
of signing a receipt in full, which the other acknow- 
leged to be a favourable and indulgent composition. 
General Prevost was so much pleased with his 
success, that he could not conceal it ; valuing his 
triumph over a demagogue who held thousands in 
awe, infinitely beyond the spoils he had acquired. 

Mr. Delancey's genius exceeded his erudition. 
His knowledge of the law, history, and husbandry 
excepted, the rest of his learning consisted only of 
that small share of classical scholarship which he 
had acquired at Cambridge, and by a good memory 
retained. He was too indolent for profound re- 


searches in the law ; but what he had read he could 
produce in an instant, for with a tenacious memory 
he had an uncommon vivacity; his first thought was 
always the best ; he seemed to draw no advantages 
from meditation ; and it was to this promptness he 
owed his reputation. He delivered his sentiments 
with brevity, and yet with perspicuity. He rarely 
delivered his opinions in writing, because his com- 
positions did not merit even his own approbation. It 
was a labour to him to write, and he only supplied 
the matter of his speeches to the assembly, which 
others put into form. 

The siege of Qiiebec by the Canadians, and the 
dread of its returning to its old masters, quickened 
our levies, and when collected, the news of their 
retiring from that city in May, stimulated them in 
their progress. General Amherst left Schenectady 
in June, to join an army of four thousand regular 
troops and about six thousand provincials, who were 
to make their descent into the heart of the French 
colony, down the stream of the St. Lawrence, while 
general Murray was to come against it with two 
thousand regulars from Quebec, and five thousand 
provincials were to penetrate under colonel Haviland 
through lake Champlain. Sir William Johnson 
gave assurances, at the same time, of the effectual 
aid of all the warriors of the Six Nations, of which, 
nevertheless, only six or seven hundred accompa- 
nied the western army from Oswego to La Galette 
or Oswegatchie, when all except a few individuals 
thought proper to return to their own castles. 

The three divisions advancing and arriving nearly 
at the same time in the neighbourhood of Montreal, 

VOL. n. — 44 


the whole force of Canada was driven into the island, 
and Mr. Vaudreuil, the French governor, being 
surrounded and unable to make any resistance, sur- 
rendered all Canada on the 8th of September, and 
general Amherst returned to New-York the latter 
end of September, and received the congratulations 
of a people exulting in the accomplishment which 
we were taught by our ancestors to pray for, as an 
event essential to the felicity and safety of all the 
British colonies in America. 

»-.«.'i I 





On Mr. Delancey's death, the government de- 
volved on doctor Golden, who immediately came out 
from his rural retreat in Ulster county, and at the 
age of seventy-three took up his residence at the 
province house in the fort, as president of the council. 
It was the general wish that he would instantly fill 
up the vacant seat of the chief justice, the ministry 
having not long before trusted the dispensation of 
justice in other colonies to persons of such character 
as filled the multitude with uneasy apprehensions. 
Jersey had been mortified by the arrival, first of one 
Ainsley, who was raised to be chief justice from the 
low station of treasurer to a turnpike in the north of 
England; and when he died, by a successor still more 
contemptible, of the name of Jones, a Newgate soli- 
citor, who left his wife, lady Oliphant, in the arms of 


an adulterer, by whose interest he was promoted 
and sent out of his way.* 

Mr. Golden was sounded on the propriety of 
guarding against similar appointments, but delivered 
his answer in terms of ambiguity ; and while it was 
unknown that he meant to compliment the earl of 
Halifax, then first lord of trade, with the nomination, 
and take that opportunity of showing his own zeal 
for the interest of the minister, an attempt was made 
to engage Mr. Morris to change his place in New- 
Jersey for the same station in this colony. 

It was apprehended that Mr. Golden, who had 
heretofore given so much offence, might, to gain 
popularity, be persuaded to join in the recommenda- 
tion ; but at the same time it was foreseen that 
neither Chambers nor Horsmanden would approve 
of any other person than themselves. 

Mr. Watts suggested to governor Boone of New- 
Jersey, that his province was happy in Mr. Morris, 
and added a wish that he had the vacant seat in New- 
York. This was privately communicated to general 
Prevost, who consulted the author on the subject, 
who spoke to Mr. Morris, and he consenting to the 
trial of our interest, we all met (Mr. Morris and Mr. 
Walton, who was his friend) at general Prevost's in 
Flatbush. The author was to engage his father's 
approbation, and Mr. Walton, flattering himself that 
he could procure the junction of Mr. Watts and 
Oliver Delancey, he made the attempt, and pressed 
it with the utmost earnestness, but was unable to 
prevail with either. The only fruit of it was expos- 

^Ainsley was said to be recommended to the earl of Halifax by lord Ravens- 
worth, and Jones by lord chief justice Welles of the common pleas. 


ing Watts to the resentment of Mr. Boone, by his 
denial of what the governor had alleged, and to the 
contempt of a few who were informed that he was 
brought to confess that he had forgotten what he said; 
and thus the president, unsolicited upon this delicate 
subject, prosecuted his own design of leaving the 
appointment to the plantation board. 

On the 22d October he made his first speech to 
the assembly, and to win the Delanceys, who detest- 
ed him, he applauded the superior talents of his 
predecessor ; and to recommend himself to general 
Amherst, passed encomiums upon the conquest of 
Canada. He then demanded a support, and assured 
them of his concurrence in every measure conducive 
to the prosperity of the colony, without even taking 
the ordinary condition of its consistency with his 
duty to the crown. 

Mr. William Livingston penned the address offer- 
ed in these triumphant moments of joy, and made 
the congratulatory echo louder than the first sound. 
Alluding to the reduction of Canada, the house, to 
pre-engage the retention of it at the peace, speaks 
of that event as replete with innumerable advantages 
to the nation in general, and exults in our deliverance 
"from the devastation of a cruel and barbarous 
enemy, rather bent on the destruction of mankind, 
than waging war either for their own defence, or 
even from motives of ambition or conquest." Again, 
" no consideration (say they) shall induce us to re- 
gret the blood and treasure expended in facilitating 
this inestimable acquisition, save only (to which we 
are confident the wisdom and honour of the nation 
will ever disdain to submit) the surrender of this 


most important conquest, which, in possession of 
the crown, must prove to Britain the source of im- 
mense riches, and if retained by so perfidious a 
people, would expose us to the keen revenge of a 
defeated enemy, who, unreclaimed by our example, 
and by our clemency unsoftened, would doubtless 
relapse into their native barbarity, and retaliate 
our lenity with more signal acts of inhumanity and 

The session was protracted with great concord to 
the 8th of November, when Mr. Golden assented to 
nineteen bills, without the least objection to that for 
an annual support, or the prolongation of the cur- 
rency paper bills ; verifying an old remark, that 
the confidants of governors often advise measures 
which when themselves are responsible, they will 
not pursue. 

By one of the acts he took a salary of £1800 a 
year, with the ancient douceur of £400 for a garri- 
son, consisting only of his own family. 

There was nevertheless some inquietude without 
doors. The merchants were chagrined at the inter- 
diction of their commerce with the French and 
Spaniards of Monte Christi ; when, by the superi- 
ority of the naval strength of the nation, and the 
success of our privateers, the enemy were no longer 
able to navigate the West India seas. We drove a 
very lucrative trade with Hispaniola, under letters 
of safe conduct, and afterwards without them at the 
post above mentioned. Nearly the whole produce 
of that valuable island came to the British colonies 
in exchange for provisions and the manufactures of 
the northern country, and passed to Europe in 


English bottoms. Both the British and American 
merchants had grown opulent by this commerce, in 
spite of all the calamities of the war, and the hitter 
felt the check now given to their gains by orders 
issued at Mr Secretary Pitt's instance, excited, as 
fame reported, by general Amherst, with the utmost 
impatience. Mr Golden nevertheless enjoyed a 
perfect calm. The enemies he had formerly made 
were not recovered from the terror inspired by the 
death of the lieutenant-governor, and having with 
their popularity lost their power, they felt no incli- 
nation to renew their hostilities ; nor were they yet 
without hopes from the timidity of his advanced 
age, and the address of Mr. Watts, that he would 
voluntarily consent to be led. In a word, the weak- 
ness of both parties left him undisturbed, while the 
number of the candidates for the vacant seat upon 
the bench, produced condescensions friendly to his 
ease, and flattering to his pride. 

But this appearance of power having nothing to 
support it, lasted but a moment. Mr. Oliver Delan- 
cey having a seat in council, and the lieutenant- 
governor's son James aiming at a place in the as- 
sembly, and Mr. Jones, the former speaker, being 
restless for his old chair, Mr. Golden took fright 
on the news of the death of the king, and unwil- 
lingly listened to the doctrine that the demise had 
wrought a dissolution of the assembly. After some 
hesitation he issued the new writs, returnable on 
the 3d of March, 1761. 

Though there was a change but of seven mem- 
bers, the return of Messrs. Jones and Gomel for 
Queen's county being set aside, yet from their for- 


tunes the Livingston party now added greatly to 
their strength. 

The speech (on the 10th, to which they had been 
prorogued by an irregular proclamation) laments 
the death of the king, applauds the virtues of his 
successor, and leaves it to the house to think of 
domestic provisions, till the instructions then ex- 
pected enabled him to state the requisitions for the 
ensuing year. 

The assembly gave assurances of aid when want- 
ed, concurred in a loyal address to the new king, 
and adjourned to the 24th of that month ; when, 
having received Mr. Pitt's letter, the president 
demanded an aid of men equal to two-thirds of our 
levies on the last campaign. They voted seventeen 
hundred and eighty-seven men, and fifty-two thou- 
sand pounds to defray the expense of the pay and 
clothing, of which the whole, except the sum of 
seven thousand pounds, was money given out of the 
parliamentary reimbursements for former exertions. 
The act for this purpose was passed on the 4th of 
April, and the house were dismissed to the 4th of 
May. Then there was a short session for a fort- 
night, in which Mr. Golden put a negative upon two 
bills, to remove doubts arising respecting the trans- 
actions between the death of the late king and our 
notice of it here, and to compel to the appointment 
of the judges for the supreme court in future on the 
tenure of good behaviour. The first was framed 
on the supposition that the laws enacted in autumn, 
by one of which he had his support, and the pro- 
ceedings of the supreme court wanted confirmation, 
and the last was prompted by the general wish of 


the people, that the judges might be rendered inde- 
pendent of the crown, and the vacancy in the chief 
seat be no longer left open to the danger of a 
succession in favour of such mean ministerial hire- 
lings as had been sent to New-Jersey. Mr. Golden 
was inflexibly set against both. He had indeed 
offered the chief justice's place to the author's father, 
immediately upon the death of Mr. Delancey, upon 
the tenure of the king's will, informing him at the 
same time as a secret, that he should not make that 
proposal to either of the puisne judges ; but after 
Mr. Smith refused, he took up the resolution to 
leave it open to the minister of the day, and to hold 
all the rest of the judges on the renewal of their 
commissions in a dependence upon the crown. lie 
could not have pursued a measure more universally 
disgustful, nor have given a better handle to the 
disappointed expectants of the vacancy^ or the 
numerous friends of the present judges, who, with 
great reason, complained of his zeal to enforce an 
old instruction, which Mr. Clinton broke when he 
appointed Mr. Chambers to succeed Mr. Phillipse, 
and which Mr. Delancey had disregarded without 
censure, when he constituted Mr. Jones to be the 
fourth judge on the bench.* 

While the bill relating to the judge's commission 
was depending, there was a meeting of both houses 
on intimation that he would give his assent, and to 
obviate if possible the objections he had urged in 

=^ I have seen M. Clinton's apology to the duke of Newcastle, and tlic earl ol' 
Holderness's answer, declaring the king's approbation of the commission to Mr. 
Chambers on the same tenure with Mr. Delancey. and that to Mr. Phillipse. th« 
predecessor of Mr. Chambers. 

VOL. IT.— 45 


justification of the conduct he meant to pursue. 
Some were in favour of increasing the allowance 
beyond the present mean stipends of £300 to the 
chief justice ; £200 to the second judge ; £150 to 
the third, and £100 to the fourth, and the constitut- 
ing a permanent fund for their annual discharge. 
But others, disinclined to the augmentations, pre- 
dicted that the vacancies would in future be filled 
up by mean and ministerial dependants, and the 
bill, by their division of sentiment, was sent up 
subject to the full force of Mr. Colden's exception. 
There were others who thought a fine opportunity 
was then lost for gaining an independent unbiassed 
bench, and these contradictions gave rise to mu- 
tual reproaches, with which Mr. Golden was not 
a little diverted ; and a confidant of his said, " nei- 
ther party had any thing to boast of, because he had 
predetermined to object to their augmentations as 
inadequate to the dignity of the officers, and thus 
elude their importunity, even if both houses had 
concurred in doubling the salaries." 

The judges at first appeared to differ from the 
opinion of the bar as to the effect of the late demise 
of the crown upon their commissions ; but their 
fears rising on the approach of the term, they applied 
in form for a renewal of them on the old tenure. 
Their request was instantly refused by Mr. Golden, 
who advised them to sit upon their old commissions 
and the royal proclamation dated at Saville House. 
Upon mentioning their doubts, whether that procla- 
mation was issued under the great seal, he let out 
his own secret : " Yours (says he) are as good as 
mine, and vou'll stand on the same foundation." 


They replied very pertinently, " You may run risks 
and be justified by necessity; you can remove our 
doubts without incurring blame, and it will be ex- 
pected you do all the good in your power." The 
judges sat to prevent a discontinuance of process, 
and in hourly expectation of being relieved by the 
arrival of Mr. Pratt, a Boston lawyer, who had 
obtained a mandamus for the seat of chief justice 
by the interest of Mr. Pownal, to whom he had been 
useful when governor of the Massachusetts bay. 

But if he lost favour on one side of the water, he 
increased it by stratagem on the other : the king 
promoted him to the rank of lieutenant-governor. 
Under a dread of the clamours of the multitude, he 
wrote to his superiors, declaring his apprehensions 
that he should be compelled to give way to the 
proposition, and thus lay the foundation for a posi- 
tive command against any future compliances. His 
letters became the subject of a report from the board 
of trade to the king on that question, in which their 
lordships observe : 

"That the people of New- York could not plead 
the example of the mother country, because, say 
they, the change which the tenure of the judges' 
commissions underwent at the revolution in this 
kingdom, was founded upon the most conclusive 
and repeated proofs of arbitrary and illegal interpo- 
sition under the influence of the crown, upon points 
of the greatest importance to the constitution, and 
the liberty and rights of the subject. It was not 
however by the tenure of their commissions alone 
that they were rendered independent, but such 
salaries were settled on them as not onlv rendered 

356 HISTORY OF i\EW-Y01lK. 

them less liable to be corrupted, but was an encou- 
ragement for the ablest men in that profession, 
which qualified them for such high trusts. 

"The same circumstance does in no degree exist 
in the American colonies, where, as there is no cer- 
tain established allowance that may encourage men 
of learning and ability to undertake such offices, your 
majesty's governors are frequently obliged to ap- 
point such as oifer among the inhabitants, however 
unqualified to sustain the character ; and though a 
more fit person should afterwards be found, yet if 
the commission was during good behaviour, such un- 
qualified person could not he displaced^ They add, 
"We are sorry to say that late years have produced 
but too many examples of governors having been 
obliged, for want of such establishment as might 
induce able persons to offer their services, to confer 
the office on those who have accepted it merely with 
a view to make it subservient to their own private 
interests, and who, added to their ignorance of the 
law, have too frequently become the partisans of a 
factious assembly, upon whom they had been de- 
pendants for their support, and who have withheld 
or enlarged that support according as the conduct of 
the judges was more or less favourable to their in- 
terests. It is difficult to conceive a state of govern- 
ment more dangerous to the rights and liberties of 
the subject ; but aggravated as the evil would be 
by making the judges' commissions during good 
behaviour, without rendering them at the same time 
independent of the factious will and caprice of an 
assembly, we cannot but consider the proposition 
as subversive of all true policy, destructive to the 


interests of your majesty's subjects, and tending to 
lessen that just dependence which the colonies ought 
to have upon the mother country." 

Their lordships take notice of a report of the 
attorney and solicitor general on a similar law in 
Jamaica, and of their own board on another passed 
in Pennsylvania, quote Mr. Golden's letter as con- 
sonant with their sentiments, declare if he has yield- 
ed his consent, he deserves the royal displeasure, 
and advise a general instruction prohibiting in all 
the royal provinces commissions during good be- 

But the lieutenant-governor's letters were secrete 
when the assembly met him again on the 2d Septem- 
ber, and gratified his requisition for a continuance 
of pay with provisions to one hundred and seventy- 
three men for the defence of Orange and Ulster 
against the incursions of the savages, or he w^ould 
have had more serious proofs of their disgust, 
already excited by the rejection of the late favourite 
bills, which were both immediately renewed, and in 
a few days after sent up to the council. He had ne- 
vertheless some intimations of their discontent by a 
bill on Mr. Cruger's motion to interdict stage play- 
ing, by a set of strolling comedians whom he had 
permitted to set up a theatre, and by his expression 
of confidence in the abilities and patriotism of ge- 
neral Monckton, who was then in hourly expectation 
of the arrival of his elevation to the chief command 
of the colony. 

It has been already observed that Mr. Jones, 
though a judge of the supreme court, had appeared 
as a candidate with Mr. Cornel for a seat in the 


assembly. They both lost their aims. The sherifTs 
first return was set aside for irregularity, and at a 
new election the second was controverted on a scru- 
tiny which left a majority against Mr. Jones.* The 
elections of Mr. Holland for the county of Richmond, 
and Mr. Schermerhorn for the town of Schenectady, 
were also disputed before the house ; and it may be 
of use to state some of the points resolved by the 
assembly in the exercise of their judicial authority, 
respecting the qualification of their own members. 

1. That the names of voting electors not returned 
on the poll lists, shall be received and counted. 

2. That the possession of the remainder, gained 
on the death of a tenant for life but twenty-two days 
before the test of the writ of summons, though the 
estate might have been devised thirty years before, 
gives a right to vote. 

3. That the acquisition of a freehold within three 
months before the test, suffices, if it was not fraudu- 
lently obtained. 

4. That an actual possession within three months 
is not necessary ; and, 

5. That a man deaf and dumb from his nativity 
has no vote. 

Shortly before the term of October, and when 
Mr. Pratt was not yet arrived, Mr. Golden, pushed 
by the dread of the discontinuance of all process, 
and the clamours it would naturally excite, resolved 
to bring the judges to the test, declaring in council, 
that unless they would take new commissions dur- 

* But this decision was suspended till the close of the year, when Mr. Zebulon 
Seaman and Mr. Cornel took their seats as the members for Queen's county 
jiursuant to the election in April preceding*. 


ing pleasure, he would find others for their places. 
To the surprise of the board and of the whole 
colony, two of them consented, but only pro hoc 
vice, to save the term in the absence of Mr. Pratt. 
But Mr. Jones, who resided in the country, learning 
by the way that this humility was imputed to mean- 
ness, turned back and absented himself the whole 
term, giving out that he would not accept a com- 
mission upon so base and precarious a tenure. No 
distress could exceed Mr. Chambers' the instant he 
discovered the public disapprobation of his conduct, 
and that his new commission was thought to leave 
him as much embarrassed as before ; Mr. Colden's 
authority to give the last under sir Charles Hardy's 
commission being considered as invalid from the 
end of six months after the king's death. Mr. Chief 
Justice Morris stated this exception to him in term 
time, and it filled him with such terror that he im- 
plored the attorney-general to bring no criminal 
cause before them, and to reject motions in form 
for that purpose. The term was no sooner ended, 
than Mr. Pratt arrived. Mr. Chambers then offered 
his first commission to Mr. Monckton, who at that 
time declined any agency in the civil department. 

When Mr. Colden and his assembly parted on 
the 11th September, he had no influence upon 
either of the great parties into which the colony 
was divided. The eyes of all men were turned 
to general Monckton, for it was not certainly known 
that he was destined to the command of the troops 
which had been several months collected on Staten 
Island, on a secret expedition to the West Indies. 
He resided chiefly at the camp, where, agreeably 



to Mr. Secretary Pitt's letter, he performed the 
ceremonies for investing Mr. Amherst with the 
insignia of the Knight of the Bath, until the arrival 
of his commission in the Alcide ship of war, on the 
19th of October. 

Golden soon learnt what Mr. Monckton was at a 
loss to discover, that it was not accompanied as usual 
with a book of instructions, and it had been hinted 
by the lieutenant-governor to a third person, that 
he thought the want of it an objection to the gene- 
ral's entering upon the command. Of this, Mr. 
Monckton was not apprised till just before the day 
appointed for its publication, and after Mr. Colden's 
orders were out for arraying the militia, as usual on 
such occasions: it became him to examine into the 
weight of this exception so unseasonably started, 
and which he apprehended the lieutenant-governor 
would use every argument to induce the council to 
listen to and approve, when he offered himself for 
the oaths. 

The author was consulted the preceding evening 
by Mr. Boone, (who had presided as governor in 
Jersey, a place which he now left to Josiah Hardy, 
esq., a brother to sir Charles, being himself pro- 
moted to south Carolina,) and delivered his opinion 
in writing, which was in substance, that the com- 
mission conveyed the authority, and the law gave 
the rule according to which it was to be exercised; 
that the council, having been appointed by the 
privy signet and sign manual of the late king, and 
continued in office by his present majesty's pro- 
clamation, wanted no new appointment to enable 
them to administer the oaths; and that therefore the 


government under general Monckton could be or- 
ganized without any book of instructions. 

When Mr. Monckton had produced his commis- 
sion to the council on the 26th October, and it was 
read, the lieutenant-governor asked for the instruc- 
tions to enable the board to proceed. The other 
replied that he had none, and hoped never to have 
any, that he might be at liberty to copy after the 
example of his royal master. Not a member of the 
board stood by the lieutenant-governor, and the 
oaths being administered, there was a procession 
and a re-publication of it as usual at the town hall, 
the militia being drawn up, and an immense mul- 
titude expressing their joy in loud and repeated 

Mr. Colden's opinion, which soon took air, had no 
influence on the people. Addresses and congratula- 
tions were presented from all public bodies, without 
naming the lieutenant-governor. It being then full 
term, he had one from the judges and the bar, and 
another from the grand jury, which it seems gave no 
small offence to Mr. Golden, merely for hinting that 
the public security was enhanced by the high birth 
and opulence of the new governor. 

It would be unfair not to add that the profession 
of the law gave this governor a public entertainment, 
in return for a very genteel one at his expense to all 
the gentlemen of the capital, and still more so to 
conceal some private anecdotes relative to Mr. 
Monckton's request for securing the moiety of the 
salary and perquisites of the government that might 
accrue on the expedition to Martinique, which he 
was appointed to command. 

VOL. II. — 46 


It was governor Boone who in his name requested 
the author to frame some instrument for the purpose. 
He informed him that the general had resolved to 
give his own share to Mr. Colden, but altered his 
mind, after his project for exposing him to the scoff 
of the public, by excepting to the publication of his 
commission. That he had alrady written to him, 
asserting his claim to a moiety, adding, that he 
should not sail before it was secured ; that he had 
received no other than a general promise to comply 
with the king's instructions whenever they arrived. 
That Mr. Monckton was resolved to waste no time 
in a captious correspondence, and had now resolved 
to offer him a draft, and if he refused to execute it 
without reasons, to suspend him without ceremony. 

The author devised a bond for the payment of a 
moiety of the salary, perquisites, and emoluments, 
and to account upon oath if required, and sent the 
instruments with blanks for the surety and penalty. 
Two days after (13th November) general Monckton 
desired to know why the oath was proposed ; to 
which it was answered, that himself taking the chan- 
cellor's chair on his return, he would lose the benefit 
of that court to compel a discovery, if that should 
be necessary, and that the bond to account upon oath 
was expedient to prevent his losing the equitable 
relief which every other subject enjoyed by the laws 
of this country. 

The general showed the author an instrument in 
the hand writing of Mr. Banyer, the deputy secretary, 
which Mr. Colden had proposed for his security. 
It was an indenture consisting of covenants, reciting 
that, pursuant to the royal instructions to former 


governors, a moiety of salary, fees, and perquisites, 
were payable to the lieutenant-governor in the ab- 
sence of the governor-in-chief, and agreeing that 
such share should be paid to Mr. Golden and the 
other half be received by Mr. Banyer for the use of 
general Monckton, unless otherwise applied by his 
majesty's instructions, " hereafter to be received." 

I then sent him a tripartite indenture between 
the two governors and the secretary. It recited that 
by former instructions the lieutenant-governor was 
to receive a moiety of the salary, perquisites, and 
emoluments, fthese being the terms in the 99th 
article to sir Charles Hardy,) that Mr. Monckton 
was about to leave the province, that he had no 
instruction, but expected one of that import, and 
that the government might fall on Mr. Golden. 
Then they were both made to covenant, that all 
profits should pass into Mr. Banyer's hands, to be 
equally divided if such instruction came, and if 
not, the whole to Mr. Monckton. Covenants fol- 
lowed for Mr. Banyer to receive and obtain all these 
profits, and to render accounts upon oath when 
required by either of the governors, and to pay 
them their respective shares. And with this inden- 
ture I proposed a bond from Mr. Banyer and his 
surety to Mr. Monckton, for the performance of the 

Mr. Monckton embarked on the 15th of Novem- 
ber, but before he took leave expressed himself to 
this effect : " After much shuffling, the matter is 
settled. Golden objected to the covenants as putting 
him in the power of his servant, and exposing him 
to the world. I then sent him the bond, requiring 

364 iiisTOKir OF new-york, 

his execution of it without any further trouble. 
Banyer came from him, with an objection to his 
being made liable during my commission and ab- 
sence. I was about to throw all the papers into the 
fire, but Watts, then with me, prevented me. I 
ordered Banyer to bring me an abstract of all the 
patents for lands and commissions for offices since 
the death of Delancey. He declared he had no 
doubt Mr. Golden would sign, if I would not per- 
mit any alteration. Colden's reason is, and so he 
told me, that he hoped to procure an instruction for 
the whole profits in my absence. Watts interposing, 
Banyer took back the bond, asking whether, if the 
lieutenant-governor executed it, he should bring the 
abstracts. I replied, you will obey your orders, and 
bring back the draft of the bond, that I may compare 
it with the copy that it may be executed." 

On the 14th of November, the fleet, consisting of 
one hundred sail, left the Hook for Martinique, 
under convoy of the Alcide, of sixty-four guns, and 
the Devonshire, of seventy-four guns, two of fifty, 
and one of forty guns ; and thus the government 
devolved again on Mr. Golden, who five days after- 
wards opened a new session, with a passion, first 
raised by the two law bills above mentioned, and 
wound to an excess of indiscriminate rage at the 
whole profession, bench and bar. 

The objects to which he pointed were three: the 
slow proceedings of the courts, tippling houses, 
and the annual support ; but upon the first he 
dwelt most. 

** Complaints (says he) of the dilatory proceedings 
of the courts of law, and of the heavy expense in 


obtaining justice, are so general and frequent that 
they well deserve your attention. Therefore I re- 
commend to you to inquire into the grounds of these 
complaints, and if found just, to apply a remedy 
adequate to so great an eviL Without doubt it is 
the duty and in the power of the legislature to give 
relief in every public grievance. The delay of jus- 
tice is a denial of it for a time, and is often, when 
attended with great expense, of more consequence 
to individuals than the obstinate refusal of it. The 
security of government and the well-being of society 
are founded on the equal distribution of justice, 
which cannot prevail in its proper extent, while the 
expense of obtaining it is insupportable to many." 

The address demonstrated that the house was 
neither disposed to be very obsequious to his hu- 
mour, nor ignorant of the true motives of his speech. 

They intended to have puzzled him by a call for 
the proofs ; but this he obviated in his answer to 
the address of the council, by quoting the 32d 
instruction to sir Charles Hardy, recommending 
speed in the administration of justice, which being 
as old as the revolution, and known to be common 
to all the provinces under the immediate govern- 
ment of the crown, gave rise to some ridicule. The 
assembly therefore resolved not to teaze him at the 
expense of their own dignity, and contented them- 
selves with observing that they would not permit 
the colony to suffer by Mr. Monckton's absence, 
but that its interests would be advanced by his 
concurrence in several bills preparing for the de- 
fence and security of the liberties and properties 
of the subject. They agree in the expediency of 


dispensing justice with despatch ; but that he might 
feel the sting of the common censure upon the high 
fees taken for patents, in which he was doubly 
interested as governor and joint surveyor-general 
with his son, they add :* 

"As the complaints your honour mentions proba- 
bly arise from the want of a legalf establishment of 
fees, we cannot help thinking a general establish- 
ment of the fees of all the officers of the government 
will put a stop to these, as well as to several other 
complaints of the like nature." At the close, they 
promise ** all attention to the internal welfare of the 
colony, with confidence that nothing tending to that 
end, can be thought by any who have the honour of 
serving his majesty, inconsistent with their duty." 

The answer shows a spirit ready for battle, and 
was supposed to have been penned by Mr. Pratt : 

" You may assure yourselves of my concurrence 
in every thing for the benefit of the country, of which 
each of the branches of the legislature have an 
equal right to judge. Methods may be proposed, 
however, for obtaining a real benefit, inconsistent 
with the English constitution ; or, under the pre- 
tence of a benefit, a small dependent state may 
attempt to set bounds to, and restrain the rights and 
prerogatives of the king of Great Britain. In these 
cases, though the benefit be real, the method pro- 
posed for procuring it may be inconsistent with the 

"^ The governor took £12 10s. for every thousand acres, and the surveyor- 
general £,5 more per thousand. 

+ All fees had for a long time been regulated by ordinances of the governor 
and council, every one of which had expired. Many attempts had been made 
to establish fees by a law, but lost by the parsimony of the assembly. The act. 
in Mr. Van Dam's time, was repealed by the king. 


duty of every officer who has the honour to serve 
the crown, especially if the same benefit may be 
more efTeclually obtained by the methods to which 
no exceptions lie." 

It was easy to discover that the lieutenant-gover- 
nor foresaw the renewal of the old bill for confirming 
the acts and judicial proceedings of the last fall, 
and that which was still more obnoxious to him 
respecting the tenure of the judges' commissions. 
While these were on the anvil, he sent a message, 
insisting on an allowance to Mr. Pratt, beyond what 
had been usual ever since the establishment of the 
salary of a chief-justice, in 1715. The assembly, 
nevertheless, resolved, " As the salaries usually 
allowed for the judges had been, and still appear 
to be sufficient to engage gentlemen of the first 
figure, both as to capacity and fortune in the colony, 
to accept of these offices, it would be highly impro- 
per to augment the salary of the chief-justice on this 

While the bill respecting the tenure of these 
commissions lay with the council, the lower house 
withheld that for the support. Both branches had 
the same object in view; but the upper house were 
apprehensive that if they passed the former. Golden 
w^ould make it a pretext for justifying his appoint- 
ment of Mr. Pratt upon the new tenure, and leave 
the other judges in their present condition. The 
next device therefore was to tack a condition to the 
salaries, as the support bill, rendering them payable 
only on their holding by the safe tenure above men- 
tioned. They proceeded upon a presumption that 
he would on that account reject the bill, though it 


gave £2,200 to himself; but were most egregiousiy 
mistaken ; for on waiting only for the receipt of a 
joint address to the king on his nuptials, he visited 
the council, and meanly implored their assent to 
that bill, and to screen them from blame, consented 
to an entry, that they concurred at his instance. 
The assembly now in their turn became humble 
supplicants to the council, that the other bill might 
not pass that house, lest the lieutenant-governor 
should gain a complete victory ; and from the com- 
mon antipathy to Mr. Pratt, they obtained this boon, 
and thus all parties were disgusted. The bill to 
settle scruples occasioned by the demise of the 
crown, sunk also, as connected with that respecting 
the commissions, and after this third defeat, they 
were heard of no more. 

At the passing of the acts on the 31st December, 
the session would have ended, and the partition bill 
would have been lost, if it had not been suggested 
to the lieutenant-governor the propriety of some 
apology for not assenting to that necessary law. It 
was a fortunate thought, for he hastily declared that 
if the house would adjourn for four days, and free 
that bill from some objections, it should have his 
consent. The author's father, who knew its impor- 
tance, procured a note of the articles excepted to, 
and endeavoured to obviate his objections by such 
alterations, though not injurious to the main scope 
of the bill. These were produced to the council at 
a meeting on the 3d January, the day before that to 
which the house was adjourned, and sent to the lieu- 
tenant-governor for his perusal^': to some he yielded, 
in others they made concessions to please him. 


Both houses came together when the altercations 
with the governor were carried on for four days, 
and with reluctance at last he consented to a new 
engrossment, and having passed the act, he pro- 
rogued the assembly. 

The projector of that part of this law respecting 
the partition of lands, being called to watch the 
lieutenant-governor's various exceptions to it, was a 
witness to the singular irregularities above related, 
though no notice is taken of them in the journals 
of the house ; for, according to their form, there 
should have been a prorogation, and a new bill with 
three readings in each house. 

If the lieutenant-governor had been gratified, 
there would have been no balloting for the lots till 
all objections to the proceedings had been heard 
and determined by the supreme court, nor any out- 
lines run to ascertain the tract without the surveyor- 
general's approbation. The council and assembly 
would agree to neither of these alterations. The 
first exposed to tedious delay and enormous expense, 
and the last subjected the proprietors of undivided 
lands to the arbitrary caprice of an officer, and 


opened a door to corruption. The contrariety of 
sentiments upon this point gave rise to the double 
lines for the contents of the tract, and the distinction 
between the parts disputed and indisputed, more 
particularly mentioned in that useful act, which has 
greatly contributed to the cultivation and settlement 
of the colony, and enhances the estates of thousands 
who before estimated them as of little or no value. 

It has been already observed, that the lieutenant- 
governor assented to it unwillinsfly. It is upon the 

VOL. IT. — 47 


information of a member who having, after much 
conversation on that subject with but little hope of 
success, dropped these words at parting : " And is 
there then nothing, sir, which you are willing to do 
for the country ?" Struck with this spirited reproof, 
he replied, "Well, copy your bill as it is altered, and 
ril come up and pass it."* 

The judges being all unprovided for, Mr. Pratt, 
whose narrow circumstances made immediate sup- 
plies necessary, despaired of all relief, unless his 
patron could procure it by dint of interest at home 
out of the quit-rent fund, and waited only the mend- 
ing of the roads to return to his native country. 
He suffered from Mr. Colden's patronage, and 
nothing so much contributed to the general odium 
against the chief-justice and his patron, as Mr. 
Hardy's adventurous generosity in Jersey, who by 
his renewing the judges' commissions during good 
behaviour, taught this colony to believe that it was 
choice and some sinister motive, and not a dread of 
administration, that prompted Mr. Golden to stickle 
for a dispensation of justice under the control of 
the crown. 

It was therefore with a malignant pleasure that 
the public soon after the session discovered Mr. 
Colden's late promotion to the rank of lieutenant- 
governor was not the reward of merit, but the effort 
of low craft and condescension. 

To gain an interest with Mr. John Pownal, a 
clerk to the board of trade, who had the ear of the 

* Robert R. Livingston was the chief m ana i^cr in the irreirular messages 
rrlatinj; to those am^ndmrntp. 


earl of Halifax, and to raise the idea of his being 
able to influence the assembly, he offered him the 
agency of the colony — a bait to which the minister 
could not be indifferent. 

Pownal's good sense and experience taught him 
to believe that a donation so imprudently liberal 
would soon be recalled, and sagaciously declining 
it, proposed that the representation of the assembly 
should rather be trusted to his friend Mr. Burke. 
He requested this of Mr. Golden, who soon after 
received the reward of his art in the commission to 
be lieutenant-governor. It now required some ad- 
dress to conceal from Pownal that want of influence 
without which his friend could not succeed. 

Having attained his own end, he intimated that 
there would be difficulties to bring in a person so 
little known to the prejudice of Mr. Charles, on 
whose account some were moved with compassion. 

Pownal saw himself entrapped, and that he had 
not only missed his aim, but was exposed to the 
resentment of the old agent. 

With professions that he meant not to interfere 
to his prejudice, he revealed to Mr. Charles all that 
had passed, and gave him copies of the letters 
which were now transmitted to the committee of 
assembly, who had for some time managed the cor- 
respondence with the agent on so serious a subject. 
The reader ought to see the proofs, which I insert 
with the answer from the committee.^ 

The royal requisitions for the operations in the 
West Indies, brought Mr. Golden and his assembly 
together again in March. 

• S Re. Note L. 

372 HISTORY OF new-yoiik. 

Though the aid demanded was nearly equal to 
their contributions before the conquest of Canada, 
their contempt of the lieutenant-governor extreme, 
and though the public debt exceeded £300,000, and 
we were annually assessed a £40,000 tax to dis- 
charge it, yet the assembly did not hesitate in 
promising to go beyond what might justly be ex- 
pected, rather than suffer the least shadow of an 
imputation to be laid on their zeal for the king's 

It was, however, a question of great moment 
whether they ouglit to set the precedent of levying 
four hundred and seventy-nine men as required, to 
complete the king's regular regiments ; and to pre- 
vent it, they gave their aid in the form of a loan, 
''to be repaid when his majesty in parliament shall 
think proper." After a few days, the aid for this 
purpose, and another to levy, pay, and clothe seven- 
teen hundred and eighty-seven men on the conti- 
nent, with a few others of smaller moment, were 
passed, and the house was adjourned to the 13th 
of April. 

But for Mr. Robert R. Livingston, who devised this 
expedient of a loan, the credit of that contribution 
would have been lost, for the house were extremely 
jealous of raising money to recruit soldiers for the 
standing army of the nation, especially as forts 
requiring large garrisons were constructing in the 
interior country, and apprehended to be now unne- 
cessary, unless the minister's design was to curb 
the colonies, and artfully to bring us to bear a part 
of the expense. They yielded with reluctance out 
of regard to the exigency of the day, the mother 


country being drained for the German supplies, and 
because they were not only desirous to give success 
to a conquest of Louisiana and the Mississippi 
settlements, but to prevent suspicions inauspicious 
to their wish that Canada at the end of the war 
might be retained by Great Britain. These consi- 
derations led them to an entry of their vote as 
unanimously carried, though many were at heart 
opposed to it. Mr Livingston observed to them, 
that if the money was unpaid, no more could be 
asked, and if returned, it would be confessed to be 
a loan ; and in aid of his design, it was suggested 
at a meeting of the speaker and several other 
members, that it would be proper to recite in the 
preamble of the bill, their views of the necessity of 
this unusual contribution for our own immediate 

The administration of public justice now called 
loudly for more than ordinary attention : Mr. Cham- 
bers had made a solemn resignation of his place in 
November, and just before January term, Mr. Hors- 
manden had sent his commission enclosed in a 
letter, which (as Mr. Colden was in distress by the 
last illness of his lady) he authorized Mr. Banyer 
to deliver when most consistent with decorum. Mr. 
Jones had never yet taken up the commission issued 
pro hac vice, and left for him on the court table. 
Mr. Pratt was therefore alone in January term, and 
receiving nothing, declared his intention to leave 
the province for Boston. 

With an apprehension of a total discontinuance 
of all process in the term of April, Colden, on the 
24th of March, demanded a catesforical answer from 


Horsmanden in full council, to the question, whether 
he would serve or not. He replied, his commission 
was already resigned, and that he would never sit 
under it.* The governor asked, whether he would 
accept a new one during pleasure ; adding, that if 
he refused, the public distress should be represented 
to the king's ministers. The other desired time to 
consider, and two hours after consented to take the 
place of second justice, with a declaration that no 
services were to be expected from him on the annual 
river circuit. A letter was the same day sent to 
Jones for his final resolution, and he too submitted 
to resign the credit he had acquired by the contempt 
he had put upon the pro hac vice commission, as 
before related, and again when being impatient of a 
total degradation on the decision of the assemblyt 
giving the seat he expected to Mr. Seamen, he had 
resolved to have gone to the bench under his first 
commission from the late king and the Saville House 
proclamation, till he was told after coming to town, 
that the last commission had revoked the first, 
and that he must act under that or not at all. Mr. 
.Tones's answer was required, but he withheld it 
till two days after Mr. Horsmanden had bound 
himself to serve. 

The war against Spain was proclaimed here on 
the 3d of April. The council met at the fort, and 
the militia were arrayed. The proclamation was 

* Mr. Banyer offered the letter enclosing it, but the lieutenant-governor, with- 
out breaking the seals, ordered it to be returned. He boasted of it as an act of 
generosity, considering the provocations Mr. Horsmanden had given him during 
the party feuds in Mr. Clinton's administration 

~ December 01 h. 176]. 


read by Mr. Banyer at the door, and followed by 
three cheers. The grenadiers, led by lord Sterling, 
then advanced to the town-hall. The constables 
followed after them; the under sheriffs, high sheriff, 
and town clerk, the common council, aldermen, 
recorder and mayor, then the council, the lieu- 
tenant-governor, and last of all the gentlemen of 
the town. When the proclamation had been again 
read at the hall, they returned to the fort, and after 
some time the company retired. 

It should not be omitted that a short convention 
of the assembly took place in May, and that they 
passed a bill which originated in the lower house, 
and sent it up to the council on the 5th — was passed 
by the governor the next day: and that another bill, 
which the council received on the 20th, had the 
governor's assent on the 22d ; the former being an 
act for raising money by a lottery, to build a new 
jail in the metropolis, and the other to punish tres- 
passes injurious to the light-house of Sandy Hook, 
which, to the shame of the colony, was now first 

Mr. Colden's second administration was then 
drawing to a close ; for general Monckton having 
succeeded in the conquest of Martinique, returned 
to his government on the 12th day of June, and 
began with a splendour and magnificence equal to 
his birth, and expected from that liberality and 
generosity for which he has ever been so highly 


VOL. II. — 48 


Note A. — Page 59. 

What a contrast in every thing respecting the cultivation of science between 
this and the colonies first settled by the English. Near one hundred and thirty 
years had now elapsed since the discovery of New- York, and seventy-three 
from its subjection to the crown of England. When the legislature borrowed 
acts of parliament from private libraries, they were seldom inspected, nor per- 
haps much admired. South Carolina had attempted, by an act of assembly of 
the last century, to extend a variety of the old statutes, and renewed it again 
in 1712. It is entitled, ''An act to put in force in this province the several sta- 
tutes of the kingdom of England, or South Britain, therein particularly men- 
tioned." The preamble is in these words ; — '•'- Whereas many of the statute 
laws of the kingdom of England, or South Britain, by reason of the different way 
of agriculture, and the different productions of the earth of this province from 
that of England, are altogether, and many others, which otherwise are very apt 
and good, either by reason of their limitation to particular places, or because 
in themselves they are only executive by such nominal officers as are not in nor 
suitable to the constitution of this government, are hereby become impracticable 
here." The 1st section enumerates and extends the general and principal acts 
of the statute book to the 4th and 5th of queen Anne. The 2d extends such as 
they refer to. The 3d, all such as relate to the allegiance, and the rights and 
liberties of the subject. The 4th, that the authority they give to parliament 
shall, in Carolina, be construed to be in the assembly ; that to the lord chancel- 
lor to the governor and council ; that their chief justice shall exercise the pow- 
ers of the judges of the Common Pleas, King's Bench, Exchequer, Justices of 
the Sessions, Commissioners of Oyer and Terminer ; and other officers, those of 
similar officers in England. The 5th, that so much of the common law as is 
not altered by 'the statutes, so enumerated by the act taking wards and liveries, 
the old tenures in capite and knights' service, purveyance, or that part of the 
common law relating to matters ecclesiastical, not repugnant to the settlement 
of the church of England in Carolina, be declared to be in as full force 
as in England. The 6th subjects their officers to the like penalties. ^The 
7th respects their fees. The 8th, courts and prisons. The 9tii confirms the 
mode of conveyancing, by lease and release, prior to the extending of the 
statute of uses. The 10th extends all the English statutes concerning customs, 
trade, and navigation. The 11th declares all other statutes, not transmitted 
since 8th of Anne, to be unaffected by tliis act. The 12th, that this act shall not 
affect the statute of 13th of Charles II. cap. 6, declaring the sole right of the militia 
to be in the king. The 13th, nothing in any of the above statutes, abridging the 


liberty of conscience or any ecclesiastical liberty, were considered as extended by 
that act, nor to alter their course of proceeding and balloting jurors under a for- 
mer act of assembly of 7th January, 1694-5, or any other act of the province. It 
is not improbable that the British legislature (3d George 11.) took the hint of bal- 
loting jurors from that Carolina act, as they had for pleading a discount from 
one enacted here several years before the statute of 2d George II. cap. 22. 

Note B.—Page 63. 

Mr. Colden, to vindicate Mr. Clarke and to exculpate himself, though not 
named in the former representation of Campbell's disappointment, gave liimself 
the trouble of two letters to the author, of the 15th January and 17th February, 
1759. He alleges, that the project failed through the poverty and discord of the 
Scotch emigrants ; that Campbell's followers refused to settle under him ; that 
himself alone was unable to improve the quantity he asked for ; and that the 
assembly even disinclined to contribute to their relief; and that, from the inca- 
pacity of the company to comply with the conditions of the king's instructions, 
he thinks the executive without blame. The author's object being general, he 
declined entering into any partial controversy respecting the criminalty of 
individuals. Let it suffice, that the account given was consistent with informa- 
tion procured from Mr. Alexander, whose intimacy with Mr. Colden gives it 
force; and that colonel Livingston, whose compassion excited him to make the 
motion, told the author, on the 16th December, 1777, that it was with design to 
raise the patent fees, the want of which obstructed the grant, and that he omit- 
ted to express it in his motion, as the disinclination of the house to gratify their 
avarice would have most certainly defeated his design, and that he lost it by a 
suspicion that the contribution was to be so applied, though asked as under the 
cover of enabling them to settle the lands at Wood Creek. The lieutenant- 
governor's speech had confirmed their jealousy ; there was this clause in it : — 
" The peopling of that part of the country to the northward of Saratoga will be 
of great advantage to the province, as well in strengthening the frontier as 
enlarging your trade. Several families arrived here last fall from North Britain, 
who are willing to settle there, and more expected from thence this year ; but as 
they are poor, they will want some help to enable them to subsist their families 
until, by their labour, they can raise provisions to subsist themselves, and I am 
persuaded that you will give them some needful subsistence." Captain Campbell 
himself also presented a petition to excite the charity of the assembly. Do these 
proofs accord with Mr. Colden's suggestion, that Campbell and his colonists 
were so far at variance as to refuse to settle mider him. 

Note C.—Par^ 68. 

'.Phere is a clause in the correspondence with the agent, which may give some 
information to the reader. The letter from the speaker, of the 11th November, 
1751, was in these words : " I have examined into the affair of our treasurer's 
appointment, and find it to be thus : — In the infancy of this colony, all public 
moneys were made payable to his majesty's receiver-general, but were so greatly 
mismanaged and misapplied in the years 1702 and 1705, during the government 
of lord Cornbury, afterwards earl of Clarendon, that the assembly attempted to 
put the money raised by them, into the hands of a person named by them in the 

Notes. SSI 

act by which the money was raised. The then governor would not assent to 
that bill, until he had acquainted her majesty, the late queen Anne, with the 
matter. Her majesty was thereupon graciously pleased to direct the said go- 
vernor (as he himself acquainted the assembly, in his speech of the 27th Sep- 
tember, 1706,) to permit the general assembly to appoint their own treasurer, 
for extraordinary uses, and which were no part of her majesty's standing revenue* 
And by her majesty's standmg revenue, it seems was then understood the quit- 
rents reserved on lands granted by the crown, forfeitures, seizures, &c., which 
were then all apphed towards supporting the government in this colony ; for 
ever since that time, all moneys raised by the assembly have been put into the 
hands of their own treasurer, and the quit-rents, &c. been paid to his majesty's 
receiver-general, and have since been taken from their former application, and 
appropriated by the crown to other uses. The first treasurer I find was appoint- 
ed by act in the year 1706 : the second, who is now treasurer, was appointed 
only by a vote of the house, and approved of by Mr. Burnet, then governor of 
this colony ; and I do not find that the assembly's right to appoint such an offi- 
cer, has been disputed by any governor of this colony, since the first allowance 
thereof by the late queen Anne." 

Note D. — Page 78. 

The honour of penning this useful law, which in the main is a compound of 
two modern statutes, was claimed both by Mr. Delancey and Mr. Horsmanden ; 
and as the text, by an incautious composition, gave ground for the innovation 
of balloting jurors in criminal causes not capital, I have insisted upon that con- 
struction, and discovered all that anxiety in the former for resisting and refuting 
a doctrine not so favorable as the old law to the prerogative, as in my opinion 
would add credit to his pretensions. But Mr. Horsmanden's claims never ex- 
tended higher than to a copartnership in the work. This note would be of no 
consequence, if trivial actions were not sometimes as characteristic as the 
greatest exploits. Subjomed is the report of the case. October term, 1756. 
Samuel Stilwell ads. Dom. On information upon an act of assembly to pro- 
hibit the exportation of provisions to the French. A common venire had issued, 
and a pannel with forty- eight names was returned. Insisted by Nicol and Smith 
for the defendants, that the jury ought to be balloted by the act of assembly, 
the first clause by implication binding the crown, and the 8th having an imme- 
diate reference to the first. Kempe. attorney- general, contra., that the practice 
has been otherwise. Curia. The statute 4 and 5 William and Mary, of which 
the first section of our jury act is a copy, binds the king; (Hale's H. P. C. 2d 
vol. 273, note ;) but the 8th section from George II, relates to suits between par- 
ties in civil causes. DefendaJits' council then object, that the pannel ought then 
to contain but twenty-four names. Curia. It is bad ; but one juror being sworn , 
the objection is too late. The cause was tried, and the verdict pro rege. 

Note E.—'Page 88. 

The instructions referred tc, show the early attention of the crown to tliis 
great object. The following are copied from the book given to Mr. Mont- 
gomery : — 

" 83. Whereas it has been thought requisite that the general security of our 
plantations upon the continent of America be provided for, by a contribution in 

382 jN'otes. 

proportion to the respective abilities of each plantation ; and whereas the nor- 
thern frontiers of the province of New-York, being most exposed to an enemy, 
do require an extraordinary charge, for the erecting and maintaining of forts 
necessary for the defence tliereof ; and whereas orders were given by king Wil- 
liam the third, for the advancing of five hundred pounds sterling towards a fort 
in tho Onondago country, and of two thousand pounds sterling towards the re- 
building of the forts at Albany and Schenectady ; and likewise by letters, under 
his royal sign manual, directed to the governors of divers of the plantations, to 
recommend to the councils and general assemblies of the said plantations, that 
they respectively furnish a proportionable sum towards the fortifications on the 
northern frontiers of our said province of New-York, viz. : 

Rhode-Island and Providence Plantation, £150 

Connecticut, 450 

Pennsylvania, ^ 350 

Maryland, 650 

Virginia, 900 

Making together, £2,500 

And whereas we have thought fit to direct, that you also signify to our province 
of Nova CfEsarea, or New- Jersey, that the sums which we have at present 
thought fit to be contributed by them, if not already done, in proportion to what 
has been directed to be supplied by our other plantations as aforesaid, are two 
hundred and fifty poimds sterling for the division of East New-Jersey, and two 
hundred and fifty pounds sterling for the division of West New- Jersey; you are 
therefore to inform yourself what has been done therein, and what remains 
further to be done, and to send an account thereof to us, and to our commis- 
sioners for trade and plantations, as aforesaid. 

" 84. And you are also, in our name, instantly to recommend to our council 
and the general assembly of our said province of New- York, that they exert 
the utmost of their power in providing, without delay, what further shall be 
requisite for repairing, erecting, and maintaining of such forts in all parts of the 
province, as you and they shall agree upon. 

" 85. And you are likewise to signify to our said council and the said general 
assembly, for their further encouragement, that besides the contributions to be 
made towards the raising and maintainmg of forts and fortifications on that 
frontier, as above mentioned, it is our will and pleasure, that in case the said 
frontier be at any time invaded by an enemy, the neighbouring colonies and 
plantations upon that continent shall make good in men, or money in lieu 
thereof, their quota of assistance, according to the following repartitions, viz : 

Massachusetts bay, 350 men. 

New-Hampshire, 40 

Rhode-Island, 48 

Connecticut, 120 

New-York, 200 

East New-Jersey, 60 

Wept New- Jersey, 60 

Pennsylvania,.. 80 

Maryland, 160 

Virginia, 240 

Making together, 1,358 

NOTES. 383 

Pursuant whereto, you are, as occasion requires, to call for the same ; and in 
case of any invasion upon the neighbouring plantations, you are, upon applica- 
tion of the respective governors thereof, to be aiding and assistuig to them in the 
best manner you can, and as the condition and safety of your government will 

Note F.—Page 112. 

A note ought not to be suppressed respecting these records, to correct a voice 
of misplaced ridicule. Few there are who speak of the blue-laws (a title of the 
origin of which the author was ignorant) who do not imagine they form a code 
of rules for future conduct, drawn up by an enthusiastic, precise set of religion- 
ists ; and if the inventions of wits, humorists, and buffoons were to be credited, 
tliey must consist of many large volumes. The author had the curiosity to 
resort to them, Avhen the commissaries met at New -Haven for adjusting a par- 
tition line between New-York and Massachusetts, in 1767, and a parchment- 
covered book of demy royal paper was handed him for the laws asked for, as 
the only volume in the office passing under this odd title. It contains the memo- 
rials of the first establishment of the colony, which consisted of persons who had 
wandered beyond the limits of the old charter of the Massachusetts bay, and 
who, as yet unauthorized by the crown to set up any civil government in due 
form of law, resolved to conduct themselves by the bible. As a necessary con- 
sequence, the judges they chose took up an authority similar to that which every 
religious man exercises over his own children and domestics. Hence their atten- 
tion to the morals of the people, in instances with which the civil magistrate 
can never intermeddle, under a regular well-policied constitution — because, to 
preserve Uberty, they are cognizable only by parental authority. The select 
man, under the blue-laws, found it his duty to punish every contravention to 
the decorum enjoined by the broad commandments of heaven. The good men 
and good wives of the new society were admonished and fined for liberties daily 
corrected but never made crimmal by the laws of large and well-poised commu- 
nities ; and so far is the common idea of the blue-laws being a collection of rules 
from being true, that they are only records of convictions, consonant, in the 
judgment of the magistrates, to the word of God and dictates of reason. The 
prophet, priest, and king of this infant colony, was that Davenport who was in 
such consideration as to be sent for to the assembly of divines at Westminster, 
in settling the religion of the English and Scotch nations. These remarks were, 
by the author, communicated to Mr. Hutchinson of Boston, then one of the 
commissaries, and to other gentlemen of eminence in the colony and of the very 
town of New-Haven, who heard them as novelties, nor would the former adopt 
them till he had recourse, the next day, to the records themselves. The author 
speaks only of those at New-Haven. 

Note G.—PagellS. 

The persons alluded to, were : 

Messrs. Peter Van Brugh Livingston, John Livingston, Philip Livingston, 
William Livingston, William Nicoll, Benjamin Nicoll, Hendrick Hansen, Wil- 
liam Peartree Smith, Caleb Smith, Benjamin Woolsey, William Smith, jun. 
John McEvers, John Van Home, 

3b4 NOTES. 

These being then in the morning of hfe, there was no academic but Mr. De- 
lancey on the bench, or in either of the three branches of the legislature ; and 
Mr. Smith was the only one at the bar. Commerce engrossed the attention of 
the principal families, and their sons were usually sent from the writing school 
to the counting-house, and thence to the West India islands — a practice intro- 
duced by the persecuted refugees from France, who brought money, arts, and 
manners, and figured as the chief men in it — almost the only merchants in it 
from the commencement of this century, until the distinction between them and 
others was lost by death and the inter-communion of their posterity, by mar- 
riage, with the children of the first Dutch stock and the new emigrants from 
Great Britain and Ireland. The French church of New-York contained, before 
their divisions in 1724, nearly all the French merchants of the capital. 

Note H.— -Pa«-e 143. 

. The vote was this : — 

9th April, 1748. 
" Ordered, — That the speaker of this house for the time being, do hold and 
correspond with Robert Charles, esquire, agent for this colony in Great Britain, 
and that he do from time to time sign and transmit to the said agent, such 
instructions, directions, and representations, as shall be judged proper to be sent 
to liim for his conduct." 

Mr. Jones's letter is in these words : — 

Mw-Yorh 9ih April, 1748. 
" Sir, — In consequence of a recommendation of sir Peter Warren, you are 
appointed agent for this colony, with a salary of two hundred pounds per 
annum, New-York currency, for transacting the public affairs thereof in Great 
Britain. You are to pursue all such instructions as shall from time to time be 
sent you, signed by me as speaker of the general assembly ; in the execution of 
which instructions, you are always to take the advice of sir Peter Warren, if in 
England. You are to take all opportunities of advismg me, or the speaker or 
the general assembly of this colony for the time being, of all your proceedings 
on the several matters as shall from time to time be given you in charge, and of 
all other matters which may occasionally happen, whereby this colony may be 
any ways affected. You are not only to take such opportunities as offer directly 
for New- York ; but to transmit accounts both by way of Boston and Philadel- 
phia, as occasion may require. You are to keep an account of the expense you 
may be necessarily put to, in your applications for the service of this colony, and 
transmit them to me, or the speaker of the general assembly for the time being, 
1)1 order for payment. I send you the act wherein you are appointed for this 
colony, passed but this day, so that I cannot yet write to you so fully as I expect 
shortly to do. In the mean time, you are to observe the preceding directions, 
and those that follow, to wit : You are to endeavour to obtain the royal assent 
to the three following acts, to wit : "An act for limiting the continuance of ge- 
neral assemblies, passed in the seventeenth year of his majesty's reign," not yet 
approved of by his majesty ; "An act for appointing commissioners to take, 
examine, and ,state the public accounts of the colony of New- York, from the 
year 1713 ; and "An act for the more effectual cancelling the bills of credit of 
this colony," the last two passed this day. If the reasons on which the said 
acts were severally founded, contained in their respective preambles, are not 

NOTES. ;ibo 

judged sufficient to ludace an approbation, you are to endeavour to prevent their 
being rejected until you can advise the general assembly of it, and have their 
further directions. An act having lately, as we are informed, been passed in 
the neighbouring colony of New- Jersey, for settling the boundaries between 
that province and this, which we apprehend may, in its consequences, greatly 
affect the property of many of the inhabitants of this colony, and very conside- 
rably diminish his majesty's revenue arising by quit-rents, you are to endeavour 
to prevent its receiving the royal assent, until this colony can have an opportu- 
nity of making their objections, and of being heard against the said act." 

It is worth a remark, that Mr. Charles afterwards informed the speaker, that 
the septennial act had not been transmitted to the board of trade ; and that Mr. 
Jones, in his answer by his letter of the 2d of June, 1749, writes thus : — " Since 
you cannot find that the act of this colony, for limiting the continuance of the 
general assembl)'', has ever been transmitted, you need give yourself no further 
concern about it, until you find it received at the office of trade and plantations."- 
There wanted no motive at this time to censure the concealment of that popular 
law from the eye of tlie administration, if it could only be charged upon the 
governor ; but the boldness of the measure is equal to the art of the leaders of 
the day when it passed. It remains a secret who advised to it, and perhaps 
because both parties shared in the guilt. 

Note I. — -Page lo7. 

Governor Clinton's letter of October 7th, 1748, was made use of before the 
commissioners for plantation affairs, at the hearing on the opposition to the 
confirmation of the Jersey act. Mr. Charles procured a copy of it, and trans- 
mitted it to Mr. Jones in his letter of tiie 12th June, 1753, and it gave such 
umbrage to the popular party of that day that it deserves a place in these notes : 
" My Lords, 

" I some time since received a copy of an act, passed by the legislature of 
New- Jersey, for running the line of partition and division between that province 
and this, and was at the same time informed that the Jersey proprietors intended 
to apply for his majesty's royal approbation of the same. There have been 
many disorders committed on the borders of these provinces, occasioned by the 
lines remaining unsettled. Of some of these disorders I had information given 
me by the late governor of New- Jersey, by whom I was required to join in the 
settlement of the line, pursuant to acts then and still in force in both provinces 
for that purpose ; which I should have readily done, but, upon inquiring into 
the matter, I found that the sum of £300, formerly raised in this province by 
an act of the 4th of George I. had been long ago drawn out of the treasury and 
paid to commissioners and surveyors employed in that service, and arc since 
dead, and no other money was ever appropriated in this province, for that ser- 
vice, that I can learn. I also found, that all the lands along tiic line, for many 
miles within this province, were granted away to private persons, upon trilling 
quit-rents to the owners of the lands. I referred the matter, and recommended 
an amicable agreement between them and the Jersey proprietors, who had a 
meeting for that purpose, but nothing was agreed upon. As it docs not appear 
to me that the interest of the crown or of this province in general, are in any 
ways concerned in the matter, but only the patentees of the lands along that 

VOL. IT. — 49 

o8t> NOTES. 

line, I shall decline giving your lordships any trouble in the atiair, leaving it 
to the particular persons concerned to take yuch steps as they shall think proper. 
Thus much I thought it necessary to say, in order to explain the reasons ol* my 
conduct in this aflair, and am with cjeat esteem, &c. 
•• Fort Georgr, in the city ofJVcw-York^ Ith Oct. 1748." 

Note K. — Page 237. 

In noticing the ill success of the address of the house against Mr. Clinton, 
?iTr. Charles' account of it (Novemher 15, 1754) is this: — " Observing that your 
honourable house have not received any notification in form of their address to 
the king in December last, transmitted by the lieutenant-governor, I think it 
consistent with my duty, and the attention I owe to whatever proceeds from 
the general assembly, to inform you that his majesty has been pleased, by iiis 
order in council of the 6th of August, to reject the said address, upon a repre- 
sentation of the lords commissioners for trade and plantations, wlio have 
undertaken to verify the charge against the colony, contained in the 39th article 
of instructions to the late sir Danvers Osborn, baronet. I am sorry to find that 
their lordships have been pleased to apply the words falsely and maliciously^ 
made use of in your said address, to their representation of the state and condi- 
tion of the colony, instead of applying them to the suggested matter and 
supposed facts upon which that representation is thought to be founded, and 
against which you have desired to be heard — for this I take to be the obvious 
meaning and intention of your house in the use of those words." It was about 
this time that Mr. Charles framed a case for doctor Hay's opinion respecting the 
instruction, preparatory to his designof complaining of the offensive instruction 
in a petition to the king ; but it cannot be ascertained that it was ever carried 
into execution. It is, however, here transcribed, to gratify the curiosity of the 

" Case of Xcic-YorJ:. — Be pleased to peruse the speech, instructions, and 
address, contained in the printed votes of Uie assembly of his majesty's colon}' 
of New- York, in America, the representation of the said assembly, and the 
address to the king. 

" New- York is one of the most considerable of the British colonies on the 
continent of North America, under the immediate government of the cro^^^l. 
This colony belonged formerly to the Dutch, and, with a large tract of land, 
was called New-Netherland, which, in exchange for Surinam, was, by the treat}^ 
of Brcdu, in 16G7, sunendered by the Dutch to the English. 

''All the British colonies, or most of them, have in them three distinct estates, 
iu humble imitation of the excellent constitution of their mother country, viz. 
n governor, the representative of the king ; a council, which is legislative ; and 
likevv'ise a court of judicature, resembling imperfectly the house of lords, and a 
general assembly, or house of representatives, resembling imperfectly the house 
of commons. The governor is appointed by the king; has a power of calling, 
proroguing, or dissolving the general assembl)^ and has a negative in all laws 
w' hich, having passed the council and assembly, are presented to him. The 
council are appointed b}' the king, and, with the governor, form a council of 
state, are assistant judges to him, as chancellor, and in the court of appeal. As 
a legislative body, they sit distinctly, and without the governor, on all bills that 
either origiuatc with themselves, or are sent up to them from the assembly. The 
general assomMy. the free election of the people, choose their own ppeaker and 

jNUTES. 00/ 

oUicers; are judges of their own elections; prepare and pass bills in order to be 
sent up to the council ; and claim a right that all money bills should originate 
with themselves. 

" The manner of providing for the support of government in this colony, 
■which has obtained for sixteen years past, has been thus : In September, yearly, 
(if the house is permitted to sit,) the assembly prepare and pass a bill, whereby 
provision is made for the usual yearly salaries to the governor, to the judges, 
and other officers and ministers of the government, for the ensuing year. At 
this season also, all claims and demands upon the colony being received, are ex- 
amined, and reported upon by the committee, who prepare their bill- Provision is 
likewise made for the discharge of those demands; these liquidated and settled; 
and the treasurer of the colony is by the said bill directed and empowered to pay 
the said salaries and debts to the respective persons named in the said bill, which 
having passed the assembly, is sent up to the council, and if passed by them, is 
sent up to the governor, and if passed by him, becomes a law of the colony, sub- 
ject only to the disallowance or repeal of the king. 

" The credit of the colony stands unimpeaclied, and, in point of merit with 
1 he mother country, comes short of none of her colonies, particularly in the 
late war; and for seconding the views of the crown in the reduction of Cape 
Breton and Canada, they raised about fifty thousand pounds sterling, without 
desiring, as other colonies have done, any reimbursement from the parliament 
of Great Britain. 

" Governor Clinton, the immediate predecessor of sir Dan vers Osborn, took 
his salary annually, daring the whole course of his administration, in the method 
before mentioned. It is true, that after having thus accepted of it about four 
years; he endeavoured to have it settled upon him for a term of years, as had 
actually been done upon several of his predecessors^ but tlie assembly persisted 
in the refusal of it ; whereupon, and upon sundry other disputes which have 
arisen between Mr. Clinton and several assemblies of the colony, a representa- 
tion to his majesty in council was drawn up by the lords commissioners of trade 
and plantations, ' whereof the agent of the colony could never obtain a copy, 
having received for answer to his application, that it was a matter of state ;' so 
that the colony has neither been made acquainted with the particular facts 
alleged against their general assemblies, nor have they been heard in their own 

" Sir Danvers Osborn succeeding to governor Clinton, carried out with liim 
the said 39th article of instruction, but dying soon after his arrival in tlie colonj', 
that administration devolved upon James Delancey, esquire, Iiis majesty's lieu- 
tenant-governor, who, with his speech to the assembly, laid before them the said 

"Be pleased to understand, that the king has been advised to reject the 
address of the assembly, by an order in council of the 6th of August, whereof a 
copy is not to be obtained ; whereupon your opinion is desired, previously, upon 
the legality and the propriety of the agenfs address, intended to be sent to the 
king ; then upon the following points relative to tlie 39tii instruction : — 

" 1st. Whether tlie natural born subjects of the king, in the British American 

colonies, are not entitled to the rights, liberties, and freedom of English subjects r 

"2d, Whether the people, by (heir representatives in general assembly, arc 

bound to obey the directions of the crown, sirrnified in the commission and 

388 NOTES. 

instructions to a governor, which, though a rule to him for his conduct, is not 
understood to be to the people the measure of their obedience ? 

" 3d. Whether positive law only, be not to the people the only rule of that 
obedience ? 

*'4th. Whether a command to grant money, and that too in the particular 
manner prescribed by this instruction, and not otherwise, is constitutional and 
legal on the principles of British liberty and government ? 

"5th. Whether this instruction doth not destroy the freedom of debate essen- 
tial to the constitution of an assembly, in whom the crown admitted the power 
of preparing and passing bills for granting money? 

"Gth. Whether the said instruction doth not destroy the like freedom of 
debate in the legislative council of the colony, subjecting them likewise, for the 
exertion of that freedom, to punishment by dismission ? 

"7th. Whether the power given to the governor over the counsellors by this 
instruction, doth not destroy a balance in the state necessary to be maintained 
between the governor and the people ? 

" 8th. Whether the order to remove or suspend any counsellor, or any mem- 
ber of assembly, holding a place of trust and profit, or any officer of the 
government, because of voting contrary to the direction of this instruction, is 
compatible with British liberty and a British constitution ? 

" 9tli. Whether the power of punishing for lessening or impairing the pre- 
rogative, is not a very unlimited power and may be subject to very great abuse? 

" And, in general, what are your sentiments touching the legality of this 
instiTJction ?" 

The answer was : 

"In general, I am of opinion that the address of the agent, intended to 
be presented to his majest}^ is legal, and highly expedient ; and that the 39th 
instruction is a most ill-advised and intemperate measure, and subject to the 
several objections mentioned in the queries. 

(Signed) " GEORGE HAY, 

" Doctors'' Commons.'' 

Mr. Charles, on the lOtli December, appeared before the lords of trade, at 
Iheir call upon the agents to show their authorit}^ and he in particular was 
asked, whether he considered himself as obliged to correspond with the gover- 
nor of the colony, or to receive directions from him? His answer was, that 
" he had, in matters of public moment, several times addressed himself to the 
governor, and was always ready to receive and consider his commands." He 
then moved to know what was done on the assembly's representation of the 
last year. Was answered, " that it lay before them, and would be considered 
upon the appointment of a governor : that the aim of their board was to bring 
the province back to its ancient method of raising and issuing money ; and they 
had lately explained themselves fully in their letters to the lieutenant-govenior, 
and that it remained with the assembly to do their part." " I then (continues 
Mr. Charles) took my leave of their lordships, after saying, that it could not 
but very sensibly affect New- York to find a measure of this nature confined to 
them singly, while all the king's governments on the same continent were 
permitted to provide for themselves by annual support.''— J,e//pr to the spealrr. 
December 2Qth, 1754. 

NOTES. 389 

Note L. — Page 371. 

The documents and proofs respecting Mr. Colden's offer of the agency to Mr. 
Pownal, referred to in page 371, are the following : 


Golden Square^ London^ \dth JVovember^ 1761. 
It may not be improper in me to acquaint the general assembly that Mr. 
Pownal having desired an interview with me to communicate some letters that 
had passed between him and Mr. Colden, did inform me on the 12th instant, 
that the lieutenant-governor had some time before signified to him, that the 
agency of the colony would become vacant, and had made an offer of it to him, 
which he said he had refused as incompatible with his present station, but that 
he had thereupon recommended a Mr. Burke for the employment. He then 
went on to tell me how much he was surprised to find by a late letter from Mr- 
Colden, that this was to be effected to my prejudice, which he said he never 
meant, and was far from wishing ; for that he had no otherwise recommended 
Mr. Burke than upon the suggestions of Mr. Colden, that there would be a 
vacancy, and then read to me the lieutenant-governor's letter of the 12th of 
August, and afterwards sent me copies from which the enclosed ones are faith- 
fully transcribed. I suppress my own reflections on tliis matter, and will only 
take leave to assure the house, &c. 


J^Tew-York., August i2ih, 1766. 

When I wrote to you on the 16th May, I had not so far recovered from a 
dangerous illness that seized me in April, as to be able to converse freely with 
the members of assembly in their last session, as I proposed to have done in 
relation to the agency for Mr. Burke. Since that time the speaker and princi- 
pal members have been in the country. I have called tiie assembly to meet 
the first of next month. At that time I shall use my utmost endeavour to serve 
Mr. Burke, for I have it sincerely at heart, whether I continue in the adminis- 
tration or not. The principal objection is that he is not known to any person 
in this place, which I can no otherwise remove than by your recommendation 
of him, which I hope will have great weight. Some likewise are moved with 
compassion for Mr. Charles, who they imagine will be under difficulties if the 
agency be taken from him. 

On the I7th July I received the honour of his majesty's commission, appoint- 
ing me lieutenant-governor. I think myself extremely obliged to your brother 
and to you on this occasion, as I make no doubt but his and your good offices 
with my lord Halifax have contributed much to it. 

General Monckton's commission to be governor-in-chief of this province is 
expected with governor Hardy, who I am told was to set out in the beginning 
of July last. It is probable, therefore, that the duration of my administration 
w^ill be very short. This, however, docs not lessen the obligation I am under to 
ray friends. My appointment docs me great honour as a mark at least of his 
majesty's approbation, and of my lord Halifax's favour. In whatever situa- 

390 NOTES. 

tion I may be, it wiii give me the highest pleasure to serve you in any shape, 
and I beg of you to lay your commands upon me, which I shall esteem as an 
honour to your most obedient servant, 



London^ February 9»/4, 17G1. 

When I took tiie liberty to request your interest in favour of Mr. Burke to be 
agent for New- York, I asked it only in case of a vacancy, wliich you in your 
letter to me supposed would happen ; but it was very far from my intention to 
request any favour for him to the prejudice of Mr. Charles, the present agent, 
whom I really believe to be much better qualified to serve the province m that 
character than any other man, and therefore for his sake as well as for the 
public, I shall be extremely sorry if any misapprehension of my request to you 
should be of disservice to him. 

I am sir, Szc. 


Mr. Golden has never recommended to the house or to any of its members 
that we know of, either Mr. Pownal or Mr. Burke. He has indeed proposed 
to a few members the appointment of another agent, and desired that the house 
v/ould join him in appointing a new one. This when mentioned, was laughed 
at, and treated with the contempt it merited. The general assembly will not 
suffer any governor to nominate or recommend an agent for them, and it was 
great presumption in Mr. Golden to mention any thing on that head. We are 
very certain that Mr. Golden, when he offered the agency to Mr. Pownal, must 
have known that it was not in his power to get any person appointed by his 
influence or recommendation. The motives that moved him, therefore, to make 
that offer, could only be to get Mr. Pownal's interest with lord Halifax to pro- 
cure a lieutenant-governor's commission. This is evident from his letter of the 
12th of August, of which you sent us a copy. It thereby appears that he had 
received the commission, and that he was contriving excuses immediately to get 
quit of his promise. Mr. Golden has probably taken great merit to himself with 
his majesty's ministers in regard to the forwardness and zeal shown by the 
general assembly for his majesty's service in raising forces, &c. If he has, it is 
unjust; for we can with truth affirm, that it was not on account of any interest 
or influence be had with the assembly, or the people of this colony, that they 
have come into the measures proposed by his majesty's ministers, but their zeal 
for the public service only. 



w w u„ a. 

7 193U